Abstract: We consider complements of standard Seifert surfaces of special alternating links. On these handlebodies, we use Honda’s method to enumerate those tight contact structures whose dividing sets are isotopic to the link, and find their number to be the leading coefficient of the Alexander polynomial. The Euler classes of the contact structures are identified with hypertrees in a certain hypergraph. Using earlier work, this establishes a connection between contact topology and the Homfly polynomial. We also show that the contact invariants of our tight contact structures form a basis for sutured Floer homology. Finally, we relate our methods and results to Kauffman’s formal knot theory.
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