Band width estimates via the Dirac operator


Let $M$ be a closed connected spin manifold such that its spinor Dirac operator has non-vanishing (Rosenberg) index. We prove that for any Riemannian metric on $V = M \times [-1,1]$ with scalar curvature bounded below by $\sigma > 0$, the distance between the boundary components of $V$ is at most $C/\sqrt{\sigma}$, where $C < 8 + 4\pi$ is a universal constant. This verifies a conjecture of Gromov for such manifolds. In particular, our result applies to all high-dimensional closed simply connected manifolds $M$ which do not admit a metric of positive scalar curvature. We also establish a quadratic decay estimate for the scalar curvature of complete metrics on manifolds, such as $M \times \mathbb{R}^2$, which contain $M$ as a codimension two submanifold in a suitable way. Furthermore, we introduce the $\mathcal{KO}$-width of a closed manifold and deduce that infinite $\mathcal{KO}$-width is an obstruction to positive scalar curvature.