Morse theory, Higgs fields, and Yang–Mills–Higgs functionals

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JournalJournal of Fixed Point Theory and Applications
DatePublished - 27 Mar 2012
Issue number1
Number of pages41
Pages (from-to)1-41
Original languageEnglish


In this mostly expository paper we describe applications of Morse theory to moduli spaces of Higgs bundles. The moduli spaces are finite-dimensional analytic varieties but they arise as quotients of infinite-dimensional spaces. There are natural functions for Morse theory on both the infinite-dimensional spaces and the finite-dimensional quotients. The first comes from the Yang–Mills–Higgs energy, while the second is provided by the Hitchin function. After describing what Higgs bundles are, we explore these functions and how they may be used to extract topological information about the moduli spaces.

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