## Abstract

From a handle-theoretic perspective, the simplest contractible 4-manifolds, other than the 4-ball, are Mazur manifolds. We produce the first pairs of Mazur manifolds that are homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic. Our diffeomorphism obstruction comes from our proof that the knot Floer homology concordance invariant \(\nu\) is an invariant of the *trace* of a knot \(K \subset S^3\), i.e. the smooth 4-manifold obtained by attaching a 2-handle to \(B^4\) along \(K\). This provides a computable, integer-valued diffeomorphism invariant that is effective at distinguishing exotic smooth structures on knot traces and other simple 4-manifolds, including when other adjunction-type obstructions are ineffective. We also show (modulo forthcoming work of Ozsváth and Szabó) that the concordance invariants \(\tau\) and \(\epsilon\) are *not* knot trace invariants. As a corollary to the existence of exotic Mazur manifolds, we produce integer homology 3-spheres admitting two distinct \(S^1\times S^2\) surgeries, resolving a question from Problem 1.16 in Kirby's list.

*Last updated on 03/06/2022*