Residual $q$-Fano Planes and Related Structures

  • Tuvi Etzion
  • Niv Hooker
Keywords: $q$-Analog, Spreads, $q$-Fano plane, $q$-Steiner systems, Derived design, Residual design


One of the most intriguing problems for $q$-analogs of designs, is the existence question of an infinite family of $q$-Steiner systems that are not spreads. In particular the most interesting case is the existence question for the $q$-analog of the Fano plane, known also as the $q$-Fano plane. These questions are in the front line of open problems in block design. There was a common belief and a conjecture that such structures do not exist. Only recently, $q$-Steiner systems were found for one set of parameters. In this paper, a definition for the $q$-analog of the residual design is presented. This new definition is different from previous known definition, but its properties reflect better the $q$-analog properties. The existence of a design with the parameters of the residual $q$-Steiner system in general and the residual $q$-Fano plane in particular are examined. We construct different residual $q$-Fano planes for all $q$, where $q$ is a prime power. The constructed structure is just one step from a construction of a $q$-Fano plane.

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