Guts, volume and skein modules of 3-manifolds
We consider hyperbolic links that admit alternating projections on surfaces in compact, irreducible 3-manifolds. We show that, under some mild hypotheses, the volume of the complement of such a link is bounded below in terms of a Kauffman bracket function defined on link diagrams on the surface.
In the case that the 3-manifold is a thickened surface, this Kauffman bracket function leads to a Jones-type polynomial that is an isotopy invariant of links. We show that coefficients of this polynomial provide 2-sided linear bounds on the volume of hyperbolic alternating links in the thickened surface. As a corollary of the proof of this result, we deduce that the twist number of a reduced, twist-reduced, alternating link projection with checkerboard disk regions is an invariant of the link.