The topological significance of the spectral Atiyah-Patodi-Singer η-invariant is investigated. We show that twice the fractional part of the invariant is computed by the linking pairing in K-theory with the orientation bundle of the manifold. The Pontrjagin duality implies the nondegeneracy of the linking form. An example of a nontrivial fractional part for an even-order operator is presented.

The homotopy classification and the index of boundary value problems for general elliptic operators
(1999)

We give the homotopy classification and compute the index of boundary value problems for elliptic equations. The classical case of operators that satisfy the Atiyah-Bott condition is studied first. We also consider the general case of boundary value problems for operators that do not necessarily satisfy the Atiyah-Bott condition.

The paper deals with the calculation of the fractional part of the η-invariant for elliptic self-adjoint operators in topological terms. The method used to obtain the corresponding formula is based on the index theorem for elliptic operators in subspaces obtained in [1], [2]. It also utilizes K-theory with coefficients Zsub(n). In particular, it is shown that the group K(T*M,Zsub(n)) is realized by elliptic operators (symbols) acting in appropriate subspaces.

An elliptic theory is constructed for operators acting in subspaces defined via even pseudodifferential projections. Index formulas are obtained for operators on compact manifolds without boundary and for general boundary value problems. A connection with Gilkey's theory of η-invariants is established.