We describe a procedure for constructing "polar coordinates" in a certain class of Carnot groups. We show that our construction can be carried out in groups of Heisenberg type and we give explicit formulas for the polar coordinate decomposition in that setting. The construction makes use of nonlinear potential theory, specifically, fundamental solutions for the p-sub-Laplace operators. As applications of this result we obtain exact capacity estimates, representation formulas and an explicit sharp constant for the Moser-Trudinger inequality. We also obtain topological and measuretheoretic consequences for quasiregular mappings.
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