Indexed on: 21 Feb '12Published on: 21 Feb '12Published in: Mathematics - Geometric Topology
The notion of a Bing cell is introduced, and it is used to define invariants, link groups, of 4-manifolds. Bing cells combine some features of both surfaces and 4-dimensional handlebodies, and the link group \lambda(M) measures certain aspects of the handle structure of a 4-manifold M. This group is a quotient of the fundamental group, and examples of manifolds are given with \pi_1(M) not equal to \lambda(M). The main construction of the paper is a generalization of the Milnor group, which is used to formulate an obstruction to embeddability of Bing cells into 4-space. Applications to the A-B slice problem and to the structure of topological arbiters are discussed.