Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Preprint ims93-6

F. Lalonde & D. McDuff
The Geometry of Symplectic Energy

Abstract: One of the most striking early results in symplectic topology is Gromov's "Non-Squeezing Theorem", which says that it is impossible to embed a large ball symplectically into a thin cylinder of the form $\R^{2n} \times B^2$, where $B^2$ is a $2$-disc. This led to Hofer's discovery of symplectic capacities, which give a way of measuring the size of subsets in symplectic manifolds. Recently, Hofer found a way to measure the size (or energy) of symplectic diffeomorphisms by looking at the total variation of their generating Hamiltonians. This gives rise to a bi-invariant (pseudo-)norm on the group $\Ham(M)$ of compactly supported Hamiltonian symplectomorphisms of the manifold $M$. The deep fact is that this pseudo-norm is a norm; in other words, the only symplectomorphism on $M$ with zero energy is the identity map. Up to now, this had been proved only for sufficiently nice symplectic manifolds, and by rather complicated analytic arguments. In this paper we consider a more geometric version of this energy, which was first considered by Eliashberg and Hofer in connection with their study of the extent to which the interior of a region in a symplectic manifold determines its boundary. We prove, by a simple geometric argument, that both versions of energy give rise to genuine norms on all symplectic manifolds. Roughly speaking, we show that if there were a symplectomorphism of $M$ which had "too little" energy, one could embed a large ball into a thin cylinder $M \times B^2$. Thus there is a direct geometric relation between symplectic rigidity and energy. The second half of the paper is devoted to a proof of the Non-Squeezing theorem for an arbitrary manifold $M$. We do not need to restrict to manifolds in which the theory of pseudo-holomorphic curves behaves well. This is of interest since most other deep results in symplectic topology are generalised from Euclidean space to other manifolds by using this theory, and hence are still not known to be valid for arbitrary symplectic manifolds.
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