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(Hermitian form and Hermitian space)
Let $V$ be a real vector space equipped with a complex structure $J\colon V \to V$. Then a Hermitian form on $V$ is
a complex-valued real-bilinear form
such that this is symmetric sesquilinear, in that:
$h$ is complex-linear in the first argument;
$h(w,v) = \left(h(v,w) \right)^\ast$ for all $v,w \in V$
where $(-)^\ast$ denotes complex conjugation.
A Hermitian form is positive definite (often assumed by default) if for all $v \in V$
$h(v,v) \geq 0$
$h(v,v) = 0 \phantom{AA} \Leftrightarrow \phantom{AA} v = 0$.
A complex vector space $(V,J)$ equipped with a (positive definite) Hermitian form $h$ is called a (positive definite) Hermitian space.
A positive-definite and complete Hermitian vector space is called a Hilbert space.
(basic properties of Hermitian forms)
Let $((V,J),h)$ be a positive definite Hermitian space (def. ). Then
the real part of the Hermitian form
is a Riemannian metric, hence a symmetric positive-definite real-bilinear form
the imaginary part of the Hermitian form
is a symplectic form, hence a non-degenerate skew-symmetric real-bilinear form
hence
The two components are related by
Finally
and so the Riemannian metrics $g$ on $V$ appearing from (and fully determining) Hermitian forms $h$ via $h = g - i \omega$ are precisely those for which
These are called the Hermitian metrics.
The positive-definiteness of $g$ is immediate from that of $h$. The symmetry of $g$ follows from the symmetric sesquilinearity of $h$:
That $h$ is invariant under $J$ follows from its sesquilinarity
and this immediately implies the corresponding invariance of $g$ and $\omega$.
Analogously it follows that $\omega$ is skew symmetric:
and the relation between the two components:
as well as
(relation between Kähler vector spaces and Hermitian spaces)
Given a real vector space $V$ with a linear complex structure $J$, then the following are equivalent:
$\omega \in \wedge^2 V^\ast$ is a linear Kähler structure (def. );
$g \in V \otimes V \to \mathbb{R}$ is a Hermitian metric (2)
where $\omega$ and $g$ are related by (1)
While a non-degenerate inner product $(-\vert-)$ on a finite-dimensional real vector space $V$ is equivalently a linear isomorphism to its dual vector space
the analogous statement for Hermitian complex inner products $\langle - \vert - \rangle$ fails, since the corresponding maps
are now complex anti-linear and hence not morphisms in the category of complex vector spaces.
(What one does get is a complex-linear isomorphism to the anti-dual space.)
But one may absorb this anti-linearity into an ambient category so that Hermitian/unitary structure regarded internally to that category looks just like Euclidean/orthogonal structure. Since this uses basic structures known from Atiyah’s Real K-theory — with capital “R”, KR-theory — it is suggestive and convenient to refer to “Real” structures, as follows:
Write
for the category of real vector spaces equipped with a linear involution (equivalently the functor category from the delooping groupoid of the cyclic group of order two to the category $Mod_{\mathbb{R}}$ of real vector spaces).
This becomes a monoidal category whose modoidal stucture $\otimes$ is the tensor product of the underlying vector spaces equipped with the tensor product of their involutions.
(Real complex numbers) The complex numbers regarded as a real vector space equipped with its real-linear involution given by complex conjugation is an object of (4). Moreover, since complex-conjugation is actually an algebra homomorphism on the complex numbers, the usual product operation makes this a monoid object internal to (4), which we will refer to as the Real complex numbers:
(Real complex modules) We say that the category of module objects over the Real complex numbers (5) internal to (4) is the category of Real complex modules:
The category of Real complex modules (Def. ) is equivalent, as a symmetric monoidal category, to the category of complex vector spaces equipped with anti-linear involutions:
By direct unwinding of the definitions, one finds that the module property enforces the anti-linearity of the involution:
Moreover, to see that the tensor products agree one can argue that the relevant coequalizers (see here) in $Mod_{\mathbb{R}}^{\mathbf{B}\mathbb{Z}}$ are colimits in a category of presheaves which are computed objectwise — hence here over the single object of $\mathbf{B}\mathbb{Z}_2$, where they agree with the usual tensor product of the underlying complex vector spaces.
(Complex Hermitian spaces as Euclidean Real complex modules)
For $H, \langle-\vert-\rangle_H$ a finite-dimensional complex Hermitian inner product space (assumed non-degenerate), its direct sum with its linear dual space carries the anti-linear involution induced (3) by the Hermitian form:
Therefore the Hermitian space $H$ induces a Real complex module by Lem. , which we denote by the corresponding script symbol:
Notice that the Real complex modules $\mathscr{H}$ arising this way have special properties:
Due to this complex and self-dual structure we may think of $\mathscr{H}$ as being a Euclidean (instead of Hermitian) complex linear space but now internal to Real complex modules.
Given a pair of (finite-dimensional, non-degenerate) complex Hermitian spaces $H, \langle-\vert-\rangle_H$ and $K, \langle-\vert-\rangle_K$, there the complex linear maps between them are in bijection to the homomorphisms between the corresponding Real complex modules according to Exp. , as follows:
the ordinary $\mathrm{i}$-complex linear maps $H \to K$ correspond to the $\mathrm{i}\beta$-complex homomorphism $\mathscr{H} \to \mathscr{K}$
the ordinary unitary maps $H \to K$ correspond to the orthogonal maps $\mathscr{H} \to \mathscr{K}$ (namely those which respect the evaluation maps on these self-dual objects).
This follows by straightforward unwinding of the definitions:
First, for a homomorphism $\mathscr{H} \to \mathscr{K}$ to commute with $\mathrm{i}\beta$ its underlying complex linear map clearly needs to respect the direct sum, structure $H \oplus H^\ast \to K \oplus K^\ast$, hence it needs to come from complex linear map $g \,\colon\,H \to K$. But then the respect for the complex involution uniquely fixes the action $H^\ast \to K^\ast$. Interestingly, it fixes them to be given by the linear dual of the operator adjoint $g^\dagger$:
Second: A unitary map is a complex linear map that preserves the Hermitian form. But with the first point above one sees that this is equivalent to preserving the evaluation map on the corresponding Real complex modules:
In summary: After internalization as Real complex modules, complex Hermitian/unitary space look like complex Euclidean/orthogonal spaces:
(…)
Hermitian forms are named in honor of the discussion of quadratic forms due to:
maybe starting with
see:
Discussion of Hermitian forms over the complex numbers as understood today originates in the definition of Hilbert space (in laying of mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics):
John von Neumann, p. 64 in: Allgemeine Eigenwerttheorie Hermitescher Funktionaloperatoren, Math. Ann. 102 (1930) 49–131 [doi:10.1007/BF01782338]
p. 21 in: Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik, Springer (1932, 1971) [doi:10.1007/978-3-642-96048-2]
pp. 38 in: Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics Princeton University Press (1955) [doi:10.1515/9781400889921, Wikipedia entry]
Textbook accounts in the context of operator algebras:
Richard V. Kadison, John R. Ringrose, §2.1 in: Fundamentals of the theory of operator algebras Vol I Elementary Theory, Graduate Studies in Mathematics 15, AMS (1997) [ISBN:978-0-8218-0819-1]
Bruce Blackadar, §I.1.1 in: Operator Algebras – Theory of $C^\ast$-Algebras and von Neumann Algebras, Encyclopaedia of Mathematical Sciences 122, Springer (2006) [doi:10.1007/3-540-28517-2]
Klaas Landsman, §A.1 in: Foundations of quantum theory – From classical concepts to Operator algebras, Springer Open (2017) [doi:10.1007/978-3-319-51777-3, pdf]
See also:
and see the references at Hilbert space.
Hermitian forms in the generality over noncommutative ground rings:
C. T. C. Wall, On the axiomatic foundations of the theory of Hermitian forms, Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc. 67 (1970) 243-250 [doi:10.1017/S0305004100045515, pdf]
John Milnor, Dale Husemöller, Hermitian forms, Appendix 2 of: Symmetric Bilinear Forms, Ergebnisse der Mathematik und ihrer Grenzgebiete 73, Springer (1973) [doi:10.1007/978-3-642-88330-9]
Last revised on September 8, 2023 at 09:35:18. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.