By comparing the Postnikov towers of the classifying spaces of projective unitary groups and the differentials in a twisted Atiyah-Hirzebruch spectral sequence, we deduce a lower bound on the topological index in terms of the period, and solve the topological version of the period-index problem in full for finite CW complexes of dimension less than 6. Conditions are established that, if they were met in the cohomology of a smooth complex 3-fold variety, would disprove the ordinary period-index conjecture. Examples of higher-dimensional varieties meeting these conditions are provided. We use our results to furnish an obstruction to realizing a period-2 Brauer class as the class associated to a sheaf of Clifford algebras, and varieties are constructed for which the total Clifford invariant map is not surjective. No such examples were previously known.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geometry and Topology