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Transactions Of The American Mathematical Society Series B


A knot in a solid torus defines a map on the set of (smooth or topological) concordance classes of knots in S³. This set admits a group structure, but a conjecture of Hedden suggests that satellite maps never induce interesting homomorphisms: we give new evidence for this conjecture in both categories. First, we use Casson-Gordon signatures to give the first obstruction to a slice pattern inducing a homomorphism on the topological concordance group, constructing examples with every winding number besides ± 1. We then provide subtle examples of satellite maps which map arbitrarily deep into the n-solvable filtration of Cochran, Orr, and Teichner [Ann. of Math. (2) 157 (2003), pp. 433–519], act like homomorphisms on arbitrary finite sets of knots, and yet which still do not induce homomorphisms. Finally, we verify Hedden’s conjecture in the smooth category for all small crossing number satellite operators but one.

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