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Bottom tangles and universal invariants. (English) Zbl 1130.57014

Summary: A bottom tangle is a tangle in a cube consisting only of arc components, each of which has the two endpoints on the bottom line of the cube, placed next to each other. We introduce a subcategory \(B\) of the category of framed, oriented tangles, which acts on the set of bottom tangles. We give a finite set of generators of \(B\), which provides an especially convenient way to generate all the bottom tangles, and hence all the framed, oriented links, via closure. We also define a kind of “braided Hopf algebra action” on the set of bottom tangles.
Using the universal invariant of bottom tangles associated to each ribbon Hopf algebra \(H\), we define a braided functor \(J\) from \(B\) to the category Mod\(_H\) of left \(H\)-modules. The functor \(J\), together with the set of generators of \(B\), provides an algebraic method to study the range of quantum invariants of links. The braided Hopf algebra action on bottom tangles is mapped by \(J\) to the standard braided Hopf algebra structure for \(H\) in \(\text{Mod}_H\).
Several notions in knot theory, such as genus, unknotting number, ribbon knots, boundary links, local moves, etc. are given algebraic interpretations in the setting involving the category \(B\). The functor \(J\) provides a convenient way to study the relationships between these notions and quantum invariants.

MSC:

57M27 Invariants of knots and \(3\)-manifolds (MSC2010)
57M25 Knots and links in the \(3\)-sphere (MSC2010)
18D10 Monoidal, symmetric monoidal and braided categories (MSC2010)
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