Ngaiming Mok, Yunxin Zhang

J. Differential Geom. 112 (2), 263-345, (June 2019) DOI: 10.4310/jdg/1559786425

Building on the geometric theory of uniruled projective manifolds by Hwang–Mok, which relies on the study of *varieties of minimal rational tangents* (VMRTs) from both the algebro-geometric and the differential-geometric perspectives, Mok, Hong–Mok and Hong–Park have studied standard embeddings between rational homogeneous spaces $X = G/P$ of Picard number $1$. Denoting by $S \subset X$ an arbitrary germ of complex submanifold which inherits from $X$ a geometric structure defined by taking intersections of VMRTs with tangent subspaces and modeled on some rational homogeneous space $X_0 = G_0 / P_0$ of Picard number $1$ embedded in $X = G/P$ as a linear section through a standard embedding, we say that $(X_0, X)$ is *rigid* if there always exists some $\gamma \in \mathrm{Aut}(X)$ such that $S$ is an open subset of $\gamma (X_0)$. We prove that a pair $(X_0, X)$ of sub-diagram type is rigid whenever $X_0$ is nonlinear, which in the Hermitian symmetric case recovers Schubert rigidity for nonlinear smooth Schubert cycles, and which in the general rational homogeneous case goes beyond earlier works dealing with images of holomorphic maps. Our methods apply to uniruled projective manifolds $(X, \mathcal{K})$, for which we introduce a general notion of sub-VMRT structures $\varpi : \mathscr{C} (S) \to S$, proving that they are *rationally saturated* under an auxiliary condition on the intersection $\mathscr{C} (S) := \mathscr{C} (X) \cap \mathbb{P} T (S)$ and a nondegeneracy condition for substructures expressed in terms of second fundamental forms on VMRTs. Under the additional hypothesis that minimal rational curves are of degree $1$ and that distributions spanned by sub-VMRTs are bracket generating, we prove that $S$ extends to a *subvariety* $Z \subset X$. For its proof, starting with a *“Thickening Lemma”* which yields *smooth collars* around certain standard rational curves, we show that the germ of submanifold $(S; x_0)$ and, hence, the associated germ of sub-VMRT structure on $(S; x_0)$ can be *propagated* along chains of *“thickening”* curves issuing from $x_0$, and construct by *analytic continuation* a *projective* family of chains of rational curves compactifying the latter family, thereby constructing the projective completion $Z$ of $S$ as its image under the evaluation map.