Automorphisms and opposition in spherical buildings of exceptional type, I

James Parkinson and Hendrik Van Maldeghem


To each automorphism of a spherical building there is naturally associated an opposition diagram, which encodes the types of the simplices of the building that are mapped onto opposite simplices. If no chamber (that is, no maximal simplex) of the building is mapped onto an opposite chamber then the automorphism is called domestic. In this paper we give the complete classification of domestic automorphisms of split spherical buildings of types \(\mathsf{E}_6\), \(\mathsf{F}_4\), and \(\mathsf{G}_2\). Moreover, for all split spherical buildings of exceptional type we classify (i) the domestic homologies, (ii) the opposition diagrams arising from elements of the standard unipotent subgroup of the Chevalley group, and (iii) the automorphisms with opposition diagrams with at most \(2\) distinguished orbits encircled. Our results provide unexpected characterisations of long root elations and products of perpendicular long root elations in long root geometries, and analogues of the density theorem for connected linear algebraic groups in the setting of Chevalley groups over arbitrary fields.

AMS Subject Classification: Primary 20E42; secondary 51E24, 51B25, 20E45.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020