We consider the S3×S1 superconformal index ℐ(τ) of 4d N = 1 gauge theories. The Hamiltonian index is defined in a standard manner as the Witten index with a chemical potential τ coupled to a combination of angular momenta on S3 and the U(1) R-charge. We develop the all-order asymptotic expansion of the index as q = e2πiτ approaches a root of unity, i.e. as τ~ ≡ mτ+n → 0, with m, n relatively prime integers. The asymptotic expansion of log ℐ(τ) has terms of the form τ~ k, k = −2, −1, 0, 1. We determine the coefficients of the k = −2, −1, 1 terms from the gauge theory data, and provide evidence that the k = 0 term is determined by the Chern-Simons partition function on S3/ℤm. We explain these findings from the point of view of the 3d theory obtained by reducing the 4d gauge theory on the S1. The supersymmetric functional integral of the 3d theory takes the form of a matrix integral over the dynamical 3d fields, with an effective action given by supersymmetrized Chern-Simons couplings of background and dynamical gauge fields. The singular terms in the τ~ → 0 expansion (dictating the growth of the 4d index) are governed by the background Chern-Simons couplings. The constant term has a background piece as well as a piece given by the localized functional integral over the dynamical 3d gauge multiplet. The linear term arises from the supersymmetric Casimir energy factor needed to go between the functional integral and the Hamiltonian index.
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