Cubical geometry in the polygonalisation complex

Mark C. Bell, Valentina Disarlo, Robert Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce the polygonalisation complex of a surface, a cube complex whose vertices correspond to polygonalisations. This is a geometric model for the mapping class group and it is motivated by works of Harer, Mosher and Penner. Using properties of the flip graph, we show that the midcubes in the polygonalisation complex can be extended to a family of embedded and separating hyperplanes, parametrised by the arcs in the surface. We study the crossing graph of these hyperplanes and prove that it is quasi-isometric to the arc complex. We use the crossing graph to prove that, generically, different surfaces have different polygonalisation complexes. The polygonalisation complex is not CAT(0), but we can characterise the vertices where Gromov's link condition fails. This gives a tool for proving that, generically, the automorphism group of the polygonalisation complex is the (extended) mapping class group of the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalMathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

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