Indexed on: 10 Dec '13Published on: 10 Dec '13Published in: Mathematics - Differential Geometry
We review the notions of (weak) Hermitian-Yang-Mills structure and approximate Hermitian-Yang-Mills structure for Higgs bundles. Then, we construct the Donaldson functional for Higgs bundles over compact K\"ahler manifolds and we present some basic properties of it. In particular, we show that its gradient flow can be written in terms of the mean curvature of the Hitchin-Simpson connection. We also study some properties of the evolution equation associated to that functional. Next, we study the problem of the existence of approximate Hermitian-Yang-Mills structure and its relation with the algebro-geometric notion of Mumford-Takemoto semistability and we show that for a Higgs bundle over a compact Riemann surface, the notion of approximate Hermitian-Yang- Mills structure is in fact the differential-geometric counterpart of the notion of semistability. Finally, using Donaldson heat flow, we show that the semistability of a Higgs bundle over a compact K\"ahler manifold (of every dimension) implies the existence of an approximate Hermitian-Yang-Mills structure. As a consequence of this we deduce that many results about Higgs bundles written in terms of approximate Hermitian-Yang-Mills structures can be translated in terms of semistability.