String topology of finite groups of Lie type

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We show that the mod $\ell$ cohomology of any finite group of Lie type in characteristic $p$ different from $\ell$ admits the structure of a module over the mod $\ell$ cohomology of the free loop space of the classifying space $BG$ of the corresponding compact Lie group $G$, via ring and module structures constructed from string topology, a la Chas-Sullivan. If a certain fundamental class in the homology of the finite group of Lie type is non-trivial, then this module structure becomes free of rank one, and provides a structured isomorphism between the two cohomology rings equipped with the cup product, up to a filtration. We verify the nontriviality of the fundamental class in a range of cases, including all simply connected untwisted classical groups over the field of $q$ elements, with $q$ congruent to 1 mod $\ell$. We also show how to deal with twistings and get rid of the congruence condition by replacing $BG$ by a certain $\ell$-compact fixed point group depending on the order of $q$ mod $\ell$, without changing the finite group. With this modification, we know of no examples where the fundamental class is trivial, raising the possibility of a general structural answer to an open question of Tezuka, who speculated about the existence of an isomorphism between the two cohomology rings.
StatusUdgivet - 17 mar. 2020

ID: 242358986