Christian Krattenthaler and Thomas W. Müller

Normalising graphs of groups

(16 pages)

Abstract. We discuss a partial normalisation of a finite graph of finite groups (\Gamma(-), X) which leaves invariant the fundamental group. In conjunction with an easy graph-theoretic result, this provides a flexible and rather useful tool in the study of finitely generated virtually free groups. Applications discussed here include (i) an important inequality for the number of edges in a Stallings decomposition \Gamma ~ \pi1(\Gamma(-), X) of a finitely generated virtually free group, (ii) the proof of equivalence of a number of conditions for such a group to be `large', as well as (iii) the classification up to isomorphism of virtually free groups of (free) rank 2. We also discuss some number-theoretic consequences of the last result.

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