Opposition diagrams for automorphisms of small spherical buildings

J. Parkinson, H. Van Maldeghem


An automorphism \(\theta\) of a spherical building \(\Delta\) is called capped if it satisfies the following property: if there exist both type \(J_1\) and \(J_2\) simplices of \(\Delta\) mapped onto opposite simplices by \(\theta\) then there exists a type \(J_1\cup J_2\) simplex of \(\Delta\) mapped onto an opposite simplex by \(\theta\). In previous work we showed that if \(\Delta\) is a thick irreducible spherical building of rank at least \(3\) with no Fano plane residues then every automorphism of \(\Delta\) is capped. In the present work we consider the spherical buildings with Fano plane residues (the small buildings). We show that uncapped automorphisms exist in these buildings and develop an enhanced notion of "opposition diagrams" to capture the structure of these automorphisms. Moreover we provide applications to the theory of "domesticity" in spherical buildings, including the complete classification of domestic automorphisms of small buildings of types \(\mathsf{F}_4\) and \(\mathsf{E}_6\).

Keywords: spherical buildings, incidence geometry,.

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

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Monday, March 26, 2018