Braids, transverse links and knot Floer homology
Contact geometry has played a central role in many recent advances in low-dimensional topology; e.g. in showing that knot Floer homology detects the genus of a knot and whether a knot is fibered. It has also been used to show that the unknot, trefoil, and figure eight knot are determined by their Dehn surgeries. An important problem in 3-dimensional contact geometry is the classification of Legendrian and transverse knots. Such knots come equipped with some classical invariants. New invariants from knot Floer homology have been effective in distinguishing Legendrian and transverse knots with identical classical invariants, a notoriously difficult task. The Giroux correspondence allows contact structures to be studied via purely topological constructs called open book decompositions. Transverse links are then braids about these open books, which in turn may be thought of as mapping tori of diffeomorphisms of compact surfaces with boundary having marked points, which we refer to as pointed monodromies. In the first part of this thesis, we investigate properties of the transverse invariant in knot Floer homology, in particular its behavior for transverse closures of pointed monodromies possessing certain dynamical properties. The binding of an open book sits naturally as a transverse link in the supported contact manifold. We prove that the transverse link invariant in knot Floer homology of the binding union any braid about the open book is non-zero. As an application, we show that any pointed monodromy with fractional Dehn twist coefficient greater than one has non-zero transverse invariant, generalizing a result of Plamenevskaya for braids about the unknot. In the second part of this thesis, we define invariants of Legendrian and transverse links in universally tight lens spaces using grid diagrams, generalizing those defined by Ozsvath, Szabo and Thurston. We show that our invariants are equivalent to those defined by Lisca, Ozsvath, Szabo and Stipsicz for Legendrian and transverse links in arbitrary contact 3-manifolds. Our argument involves considering braids about rational open book decompositions and filtrations on knot Floer complexes.