Snowflake groups, Perron-Frobenius eigenvalues, and isoperimetric spectra

Noel Brady, Martin R. Bridson, Max Forester, Krishnan Shankar

To appear in Geometry and Topology

The k-dimensional Dehn (or isoperimetric) function of a group bounds the volume of efficient ball-fillings of k-spheres mapped into k-connected spaces on which the group acts properly and cocompactly; the bound is given as a function of the volume of the sphere. We advance significantly the observed range of behavior for such functions. First, to each non-negative integer matrix P and positive rational number r, we associate a finite, aspherical 2-complex X_{r,P} and calculate the Dehn function of its fundamental group G_{r,P} in terms of r and the Perron-Frobenius eigenvalue of P. The range of functions obtained includes x^s, where s is an arbitrary rational number greater than or equal to 2. By repeatedly forming multiple HNN extensions of the groups G_{r,P} we exhibit a similar range of behavior among higher-dimensional Dehn functions, proving in particular that for each positive integer k and rational s greater than or equal to (k+1)/k there exists a group with k-dimensional Dehn function x^s. Similar isoperimetric inequalities are obtained for arbitrary manifold pairs (M,\partial M) in addition to (B^{k+1},S^k).