Abstract:Given an orientable knot cobordism between classical knots K and K', Juhász, Miller, and Zemke proved an inequality involving the torsion order of the knot Floer homology of K and K' and the Euler characteristic and the number of local maxima appearing in the cobordism.
In our work, we prove analogous inequalities for unorientable knot cobordisms, using unoriented versions of instanton and knot Floer homology. Much of the subtlety in our argument lies in the fact that we need to choose more complicated decorations on the surface than the ones appearing in Juhász-Miller-Zemke's case. We also introduce unoriented versions of the band unknotting number and of the refined cobordism distance and apply our results to give bounds on these based on the torsion orders of the Floer homologies. As an application, I will exhibit a family of knots all of which bound an embedded Möbius band in B^4, but for which the unorientable refined cobordism distance from the unknot is arbitrarily large. This is joint work with Sherry Gong.