nLab derived smooth manifold




A derived smooth manifold is the generalization of a smooth manifold in derived differential geometry: the derived geometry over the Lawvere theory for smooth algebras (C C^\infty-rings):

it is a structured (∞,1)-topos whose structure sheaf of functions is a smooth (∞,1)-algebra.

Motivation: correction of limits

According to the general logic of derived geometry, passing from smooth manifolds to derived smooth manifold serves to correct certain limits that do exist in Diff but do not have the correct cohomological behaviour. This concerns notably pullbacks along smooth functions that are not transversal maps.

Pontrjagin-Thom construction

For XX a compact smooth manifold, by the Pontrjagin-Thom construction there is a smooth function f:S nMOf : S^n \to M O from an nn-sphere to the Thom spectrum such that if chosen transversal to the zero-section BMOB \hookrightarrow M O the pullback f *Bf^* B

f *B B S n f MO \array{ f^* B &\to& B \\ \downarrow && \downarrow \\ S^n &\stackrel{f}{\to}& M O }

is a manifold cobordant to XX, so that [X][f *B][X] \simeq [f^* B] in the cobordism ring Ω\Omega.

By using derived smooth manifolds instead of ordinary smooth manifolds here, the condition that ff be transversal to BB could be dropped.

String topology


Floer homology



The following definition characterizes the design criterion for derived smooth manifolds as being objects for which homotopy-intersections

A XB:=A× X hB A \cap_X B := A \times_X^h B

preserve the cup product in the cobordism ring

[A][B][A XB]. [A] \smile [B] \simeq [A \cap_X B] \,.

We say an (∞,1)-category CC supports derived cup products for cobordisms if

  • it is equipped with a full and faithful functor

    i:DiffC i : Diff \hookrightarrow C

    embedding the category of smooth manifolds into it;

  • for any two submanifolds AXBA \to X \leftarrow B (transversal or not) the (∞,1)-pullback

    A XB:=i(A)× i(X)i(B) A \cap_X B := i(A) \times_{i(X)} i(B)

    exists in CC;

  • if AXBA \to X \leftarrow B happen to be transverse maps then

    i(A× XB)i(A)× i(X)i(B), i(A \times_X B) \simeq i(A) \times_{i(X)} i(B) \,,

    with the image under ii of the ordinary pullback in Diff on the left;

  • ii preserves the terminal object;

  • (…nice interaction with underlying topological spaces…)

  • for each XDiffX \in Diff there is a derived cobordism ring Ω(X)\Omega(X) such that …

  • for any submanifolds AXBA \to X \leftarrow B we have

    [A][B]=[A XB] [A] \smile [B] = [A \cap_X B]

    in Ω(X)\Omega(X)


A central statement about derived smooth manifolds will be


The (,1)(\infty,1)-category of derived smooth manifolds has derived cup products for cobordisms.

This is (Spivak, theorm 1.8).


The definition of derived smooth manifolds is indicated at the very end of

A detailed construction and discjussion in terms of the model category presentation by homotopy T-algebras is in

Something roughly related is discussed in

  • Dominic Joyce, D-orbifolds, Kuranishi spaces, and polyfolds talk notes (Jan 2010) (pdf)

There is also

  • Dennis Borisov, Justin Noel, Simplicial approach to derived differential manifolds (arXiv:1112.0033)

The (,1)(\infty, 1)-category of derived manifolds is classified up to equivalence by a universal property in

Seminar notes on differential derived geometry in general and derived smooth manifolds in particular are in

Further developments:

Last revised on March 24, 2023 at 18:43:19. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.