Beyond Expansion IV: Traces of Thin Semigroups

10 Apr 2018  ·  Bourgain Jean, Kontorovich Alex ·

We continue our study of particular instances of the Affine Sieve, producing levels of distribution beyond those attainable from expansion alone. Motivated by McMullen's Arithmetic Chaos Conjecture regarding low-lying closed geodesics on the modular surface defined over a given number field, we study the set of traces for certain sub-semi-groups of SL2(Z) corresponding to absolutely Diophantine numbers... In particular, we are concerned with the level of distribution for this set. While the standard Affine Sieve procedure, combined with Bourgain-Gamburd-Sarnak's resonance-free region for the resolvent of a "congruence" transfer operator, produces some exponent of distribution alpha > 0, we are able to produce the exponent alpha < 1/3. This recovers unconditionally the same exponent as what one would obtain under a Ramanujan-type conjecture for thin groups. A key ingredient, of independent interest, is a bound on the additive energy of SL2(Z). read more

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Number Theory