On variational approach to differential invariants of rank two distributions
- Additional Document Info
- View All
We construct differential invariants for generic rank 2 vector distributions on n-dimensional manifolds, where n 5. Our method for the construction of invariants is completely different from the Cartan reduction-prolongation procedure. It is based on the dynamics of the field of so-called abnormal extremals (singular curves) of rank 2 distribution and on the theory of unparameterized curves in the Lagrange Grassmannian, developed in [A. Agrachev, I. Zelenko, Geometry of Jacobi curves I, J. Dynam. Control Syst. 8 (1) (2002) 93-140; II, 8 (2) (2002) 167-215]. In this way we construct the fundamental form and the projective Ricci curvature of rank 2 vector distributions for arbitrary n 5. In the next paper [I. Zelenko, Fundamental form and Cartan's tensor of (2,5)-distributions coincide, J. Dynam. Control. Syst., in press, SISSA preprint, Ref. 13/2004/M, February 2004, math.DG/0402195] we show that in the case n = 5 our fundamental form coincides with the Cartan covariant biquadratic binary form, constructed in 1910 in [E. Cartan, Les systemes de Pfaff a cinque variables et les equations aux derivees partielles du second ordre, Ann. Sci. Ecole Normale 27 (3) (1910) 109-192; reprinted in: Oeuvres completes, Partie II, vol. 2, Gautier-Villars, Paris, 1953, pp. 927-1010]. Therefore first our approach gives a new geometric explanation for the existence of the Cartan form in terms of an invariant degree four differential on an unparameterized curve in Lagrange Grassmannians. Secondly, our fundamental form provides a natural generalization of the Cartan form to the cases n > 5. Somewhat surprisingly, this generalization yields a rational function on the fibers of the appropriate vector bundle, as opposed to the polynomial function occurring when n = 5. For n = 5 we give an explicit method for computing our invariants and demonstrate the method on several examples. 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DIFFERENTIAL GEOMETRY AND ITS APPLICATIONS
author list (cited authors)
complete list of authors