Cell decompositions of character varieties


We establish curious Lefschetz property for generic character varieties of Riemann surfaces conjectured by Hausel, Letellier and Rodriguez-Villegas. Our main tool applies directly in the case when there is at least one puncture where the local monodromy has distinct eigenvalues. We pass to a vector bundle over the character variety, which is then decomposed into cells, which look like vector bundles over varieties associated to braids by Shende-Treumann-Zaslow. These varieties are in turn decomposed into cells that look like $(\mathbb{C}^*)^{d-2k}\times \mathbb{C}^k$. The curious Lefschetz property is shown to hold on each cell, and therefore holds for the character variety. To deduce the general case, we introduce a fictitious puncture with trivial monodromy, and show that the cohomology of the character variety where one puncture has trivial monodromy is isomorphic to the sign component of the $S_n$ action on the cohomology for the character variety where trivial monodromy is replaced by regular semisimple monodromy. This involves an argument with the Grothendieck-Springer sheaf, and analysis of how the cohomology of the character variety varies when the eigenvalues are moved around.

arXiv preprint arXiv:1905.10685