Diophantine approximation on matrices and Lie groups

03 May 2018

We study the general problem of extremality for metric diophantine approximation on submanifolds of matrices. We formulate a criterion for extremality in terms of a certain family of algebraic obstructions and show that it is sharp. In general the almost sure diophantine exponent of a submanifold is shown to depend only on its Zariski closure, and when the latter is defined over Q, we prove that the exponent is rational and give a method to effectively compute it. This method is applied to a number of cases of interest. In particular we prove that the diophantine exponent of rational nilpotent Lie groups exists and is a rational number, which we determine explicitly in terms of representation theoretic data.