Bordism, rho-invariants and the Baum-Connes conjecture

Research paper by Paolo Piazza, Thomas Schick

Indexed on: 13 Apr '05Published on: 13 Apr '05Published in: Mathematics - K-Theory and Homology


Let G be a finitely generated discrete group. In this paper we establish vanishing results for rho-invariants associated to (i) the spin-Dirac operator of a spin manifold with positive scalar curvature (ii) the signature operator of the disjoint union of a pair of homotopy equivalent oriented manifolds with fundamental group G. The invariants we consider are more precisely - the Atiyah-Patodi-Singer rho-invariant associated to a pair of finite dimensional unitary representations. - the L2-rho invariant of Cheeger-Gromov - the delocalized eta invariant of Lott for a finite conjugacy class of G. We prove that all these rho-invariants vanish if the group G is torsion-free and the Baum-Connes map for the maximal group C^*-algebra is bijective. For the delocalized invariant we only assume the validity of the Baum-Connes conjecture for the reduced C^*-algebra. In particular, the three rho-invariants associated to the signature operator are, for such groups, homotopy invariant. For the APS and the Cheeger-Gromov rho-invariants the latter result had been established by Navin Keswani. Our proof re-establishes this result and also extends it to the delocalized eta-invariant of Lott. Our method also gives some information about the eta-invariant itself (a much more saddle object than the rho-invariant).