Michela Ottobre (Heriot-Watt University) and Carsten Hartmann (BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg)
We compute explicitly, and without any extra regularity assumptions, the large time limit of the fibrewise heat operator for Bismut-Lott type superconnections in the $L^2$-setting. This is motivated by index theory on certain non-compact spaces (families of manifolds with cocompact group action) where the convergence of the heat operator at large time implies refined $L^2$-index formulas. As applications, we prove a local $L^2$-index theorem for families of signature operators and an $L^2$-Bismut-Lott theorem, expressing the Becker-Gottlieb transfer of flat bundles in terms of Kamber-Tandeur classes. With slightly stronger regularity we obtain the respective refined versions: we construct $L^2$-eta forms and $L^2$-torsion forms as transgression forms.