frame bundle

Given a $k$-vector bundle $p\colon E \to M$ of finite rank $n$, its **frame bundle** (or bundle of frames in $E \to M$) is the bundle $F E \to M$ over the same base whose fiber over $x \in M$ is the set of all vector space bases of $E_x = p^{-1}(x)$. The frame bundle has a natural action of $GL_n(k)$ given by an ordered change of basis which is free and transitive, i. e., the frame bundle is a principal $GL_n(k)$-bundle.

The **frame bundle of a manifold** $M$ is the principal bundle $F T M \to M$ (also denoted $F M \to M$) of frames in the tangent bundle $T M$.

In the finite-dimensional case, the dual $GL_n$-principal bundle $(F T)^* M$ is the **coframe bundle** of the manifold. This means that $F^* M = (F T)^* M$ is the associated bundle to $F T M \times_{GL_n(k)}GL_n(k)$ where the left action of $GL_n(k)$ on $GL_n(k)$ is given by right multiplication by inverses $g. h = h\cdot g^{-1}$. Also $F T M\cong (F T)^* M\times_{GL_n(k)} GL_n(k)$ using the same formula. Furthermore, the right action of $GL_n(k)$ on this associated bundle is given by left multiplication by inverses on $GL_n(k)$ factor.

Coframe bundle $F^* M$ has the following independent description. One looks at the set $\mathcal{U}(M)$ of tuples of the form $(p,(U,h))$ where $p\in U$ and $(U,h)$ is chart of the smooth structure on $M$, $U\subset M$, $h : U\to \mathbf{R}^n$ (an atlas where $U$-s make a basis of topology suffices). $GL_n(k)$ acts on the right on $\mathcal{U}(M)$ by

$(p, (U, h)) A := (p, (U, A^{-1} h)).$

Then $((p,(U,h))A)A' = (p,(U,h)) (AA')$ holds. The total space $F^* M$ of the coframe bundle by the definition, as a set, consists of classes of equivalence of tuples in $\mathcal{U}(M)$ where $(p,(U,h)) \sim (p',(U',h'))$ iff $p = p'$ and the Jacobian matrix of the transition between charts at $h'(p)$ is the unit matrix: $J_{h'(p)}(h\circ (h')^{-1}) = I$. The left action of $GL_n(k)$ is induced on the quotient. There is an obvious projection $\pi: [(p,(U,h)]\mapsto p$. To define the differential and principal bundle structure one charts $F^* M\to M$ with local trivializations from the neighborhoods of the form $U\times GL_n(k)$, transfers the structure and checks that the transition functions are of the appropriate smoothness class and right $GL_n(k)$-equivariant. The basic prescription is that to every chart $(U,h)$ one defines a map

$\phi_{h} = \pi^{-1}(U)\to U \times GL_n(k),\,\,\,\,\,\,z\mapsto (\pi(z), J_{h(\pi(z))}(h'\circ h^{-1})),$

where $z = [(\pi(z), (U',h'))]$ with $\pi(z)\in U'\cap U$. This does not depend on the choice of the chart $(U',h')$ around $\pi(z)$. There is an equivariance

$J_{h(\pi(z A))}(h'\circ h^{-1})) = A^{-1} J_{h(\pi(z))}(h'\circ h^{-1}))$

and on intersection of $(U,h)$ and $(V,g)$

$J_{h(\pi(z))}(h'\circ h^{-1})) = J_{g(\pi(z))}(h'\circ g^{-1})J_{h(\pi(z))}(g\circ h^{-1})$

Then $\phi_h$ is onto and

$(\phi_h \circ (\phi_g)^{-1})(p,A) = (p, A J_{h(p)}(g\circ h^{-1})$

what shows that the transition functions are smooth (where $GL_n(k)$ has the standard differential structure).

Formalization of frame bundles in differential cohesion is discussed there in the section *Differential cohesion – Frame bundles*

- Wikipedia (English) frame bundle
- Shlomo Sternberg,
*Lectures on differential geometry*, Prentice Hall 1964; Russian transl. Mir 1970

Revised on December 5, 2014 00:06:44
by Urs Schreiber
(195.113.31.253)