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We study the full holonomy group of Lorentzian manifolds with a parallel null line bundle. We prove several results that are based on the classification of the restricted holonomy groups of such manifolds and provide a construction method for manifolds with disconnected holonomy which starts from a Riemannian manifold and a properly discontinuous group of isometries. Most of our examples are quotients of pp-waves with disconnected holonomy and without parallel vector field. Furthermore, we cl...
We consider the question: can the isotropy representation of an irreducible pseudo-Riemannian symmetric space be realized as a conformal holonomy group? Using recent results of Cap, Gover and Hammerl, we study the representations of SO(2,1), PSU(2,1) and PSp(2,1) as isotropy groups of irreducible symmetric spaces of signature (3,2), (4,4) and (6,8), respectively, describing the geometry induced by a conformal holonomy reduction to the corresponding subgroups. In the case of SO(2,1) we show th...
We present three large classes of examples of conformal structures for which the equations for the Fefferman-Graham ambient metric to be Ricci-flat are linear PDEs, which we solve explicitly. These explicit solutions enable us to discuss the holonomy of the corresponding ambient metrics. Our examples include conformal pp-waves and, more importantly, conformal structures that are defined by generic rank 2 and 3 distributions in respective dimensions 5 and 6. The corresponding explicit Fefferma...
The conformal Fefferman-Graham ambient metric construction is one of the most fundamental constructions in conformal geometry. It embeds a manifold with a conformal structure into a pseudo-Riemannian manifold whose Ricci tensor vanishes up to a certain order along the original manifold. Despite the general existence result of such ambient metrics by Fefferman and Graham, not many examples of conformal structures with Ricci-flat ambient metrics are known. Motivated by previous examples, for wh...
We prove that the Cauchy problem for parallel null vector fields on smooth Lorentzian manifolds is well posed. The proof is based on the derivation and analysis of suitable hyperbolic evolution equations given in terms of the Ricci tensor and other geometric objects. Moreover, we classify Riemannian manifolds satisfying the constraint conditions for this Cauchy problem. It is then possible to characterise certain holonomy reductions of globally hyperbolic manifolds with parallel null vector i...
We address the problem of finding conditions under which a compact Lorentzian manifold is geodesically complete, a property, which always holds for compact Riemannian manifolds. It is known that a compact Lorentzian manifold is geodesically complete if it is homogeneous, or has constant curvature, or admits a time-like conformal vector field. We consider certain Lorentzian manifolds with Abelian holonomy, which are locally modelled by the so called pp-waves, and which, in general, do not sati...
On a Lorentzian manifold the existence of a parallel null vector field implies certain constraint conditions on the induced Riemannian geometry of a space-like hypersurface. We will derive these constraint conditions and, conversely, show that every real analytic Riemannian manifold satisfying the constraint conditions can be extended to a Lorentzian manifold with a parallel null vector field. Similarly, every parallel null spinor on a Lorentzian manifold induces an imaginary generalised Kill...
We show that every n-dimensional locally homogeneous pp-wave is a plane wave, provided it is indecomposable and its curvature operator, when acting on $2$-forms, has rank greater than one. As a consequence we obtain that indecomposable, Ricci-flat locally homogeneous pp-waves are plane waves. This generalises a classical result by Jordan, Ehlers and Kundt in dimension 4. Several examples show that our assumptions on indecomposability and the rank of the curvature are essential.
For a conformal manifold, we describe a new relation between the ambient obstruction tensor of Fefferman and Graham and the holonomy of the normal conformal Cartan connection. This relation allows us to prove several results on the vanishing and the rank of the obstruction tensor, for example for conformal structures admitting twistor spinors or normal conformal Killing forms. As our main tool we introduce the notion of a conformal holonomy distribution and show that its integrability is clos...
There are two well-known parabolic split $G_2$-geometries in dimension five, $(2,3,5)$-distributions and $G_2$-contact structures. Here we link these two geometries with yet another $G_2$-related contact structure, which lives on a seven-manifold. We present a natural geometric construction of a Lie contact structure on a seven-dimensional bundle over a five-manifold endowed with a $(2,3,5)$-distribution. For a class of distributions the induced Lie contact structure is constructed explicitly...
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