Let M be a closed manifold whose based loop space Ω (M) is “complicated”. Examples are rationally hyperbolic manifolds and manifolds whose fundamental group has exponential growth. Consider a hypersurface Σ in T*M which is fiberwise starshaped with respect to the origin. Choose a function H : T*M → ℝ such that Σ is a regular energy surface of H, and let ϕt be the restriction to Σ of the Hamiltonian flow of H.
Theorem 1. The topological entropy of ϕt is positive.
This result has been known for fiberwise convex Σ by work of Dinaburg, Gromov, Paternain, and Paternain–Petean on geodesic flows. We use the geometric idea and the Floer homological technique from , but in addition apply the sandwiching method. Theorem 1 can be reformulated as follows.
Theorem 1'. The topological entropy of any Reeb flow on the spherization SM of T*M is positive.
For q ∈ M abbreviate Σq = Σ ∩ Tq*M. The following corollary extends results of Morse and Gromov on the number of geodesics between two points.
Corollary 1. Given q ∈ M, for almost every q′ ∈ M the number of orbits of the flow ϕt from Σq to Σq′ grows exponentially in time.
In the lowest dimension, Theorem 1 yields the existence of many closed, orbits.
Corollary 2. Let M be a closed surface different from S2, ℝP2, the torus and the Klein bottle. Then ϕt carries a horseshoe. In particular, the number of geometrically distinct closed orbits grows exponentially in time.