Hecke algebra representations of braid groups and link polynomials


By studying representations of the braid group satisfying a certain quadratic relation we obtain a polynomial invariant in two variables for oriented links. It is expressed using a trace, discovered by Ocneanu, on the Hecke algebras of type A. A certain specialization of the polynomial, whose discovery predated and inspired the two-variable one, is seen to come in two inequivalent ways, from a Hecke algebra quotient and a linear functional on it which has already been used in statistical mechanics. The two-variable polynomial was first discovered by Freyd-Yetter, Lickorish-Millet, Ocneanu, Hoste, and Przytycki-Traczyk.


Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones