nLab diffeological space



Differential geometry

synthetic differential geometry


from point-set topology to differentiable manifolds

geometry of physics: coordinate systems, smooth spaces, manifolds, smooth homotopy types, supergeometry



smooth space


The magic algebraic facts




infinitesimal cohesion

tangent cohesion

differential cohesion

graded differential cohesion

singular cohesion

id id fermionic bosonic bosonic Rh rheonomic reduced infinitesimal infinitesimal & étale cohesive ʃ discrete discrete continuous * \array{ && id &\dashv& id \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{fermionic}{}& \rightrightarrows &\dashv& \rightsquigarrow & \stackrel{bosonic}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{bosonic}{} & \rightsquigarrow &\dashv& \mathrm{R}\!\!\mathrm{h} & \stackrel{rheonomic}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{reduced}{} & \Re &\dashv& \Im & \stackrel{infinitesimal}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{infinitesimal}{}& \Im &\dashv& \& & \stackrel{\text{étale}}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{cohesive}{}& \esh &\dashv& \flat & \stackrel{discrete}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{discrete}{}& \flat &\dashv& \sharp & \stackrel{continuous}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ && \emptyset &\dashv& \ast }


Lie theory, ∞-Lie theory

differential equations, variational calculus

Chern-Weil theory, ∞-Chern-Weil theory

Cartan geometry (super, higher)

Cohesive toposes



A diffeological space is a type of generalized smooth space. As with the other variants, it subsumes the notion of smooth manifold but also naturally captures other spaces that one would like to think of as smooth spaces but aren’t manifolds; for example, the space of all smooth maps between two smooth manifolds can be made into a diffeological space. (These mapping spaces are rarely manifolds themselves, see manifolds of mapping spaces.)

In a little more detail, a diffeology, 𝒟\mathcal{D} on a set XX is a presheaf on the category of open subsets of Euclidean spaces with smooth maps as morphisms. To each open set U nU \subseteq \mathbb{R}^n, it assigns a subset of Set(U,X)\Set(U,X). The functions in Set(U,X)\Set(U,X) are to be regarded as the “smooth functions” from UU to XX. A diffeological space is then a set together with a diffeology on it.

Diffeological spaces were originally introduced in (Souriau 79). They have subsequently been developed in the textbook (Iglesias-Zemmour 13)



Let 𝒪𝓅\mathcal{Op} denote the site whose objects are the open subsets of the Euclidean spaces n\mathbb{R}^n and whose morphisms are smooth maps between these. The Grothendieck topology on 𝒪𝓅\mathcal{Op} is generated by the coverage of open covers, i.e., a family of maps {U iX} iI\{U_i\to X\}_{i\in I} is a covering family if every map U iXU_i\to X is an open embedding and the union of the images of U iU_i in XX equals XX.

A diffeological space is a pair (X,𝒟)(X,\mathcal{D}) where

  • XX is a set

  • and 𝒟Sh(𝒪𝓅)\mathcal{D} \in Sh(\mathcal{Op}) is a diffeology on XX:

    • a subsheaf of the sheaf UHom Set(U,X)U \mapsto Hom_{Set}(U,X) with 𝒟(*)=X\mathcal{D}(*) = X

    • equivalently: a concrete sheaf on the site 𝒪𝓅\mathcal{Op} such that 𝒟(*)=X\mathcal{D}(*) = X - a concrete smooth space (see there for more details).

A morphism of diffeological spaces is a morphism of the corresponding sheaves: we take DiffeologicalSpSh(CartSp)DiffeologicalSp \hookrightarrow Sh(CartSp) to be the full subcategory on the diffeological spaces in the sheaf topos.

For (X,𝒟)(X,\mathcal{D}) a diffeological space, and for any U𝒪𝓅U \in \mathcal{Op}, the set 𝒟(U)\mathcal{D}(U) is also called the set of plots in XX on UU. This is to be thought of as the set of ways of mapping UU smoothly into the would-be space XX. This assignment defined what it means for a map UXU \to X of sets to be smooth.

For some comments on the reasoning behind this kind of definition of generalized spaces see motivation for sheaves, cohomology and higher stacks.

A sheaf on the site 𝒪𝓅\mathcal{Op} of open subsets of Euclidean spaces is completely specified by its restriction to CartSp, the full subcategory of Cartesian space: The fully faithful functor CartSp𝒪𝓅CartSp \hookrightarrow \mathcal{Op} is a dense subsite-inclusion. Therefore in the sequel we shall often restrict our attention to CartSp.

One may define a smooth sets to be any sheaf of CartSp. A diffeological space is equivalently a concrete sheaf on the concrete site CartSp. (For details see this Prop. at geometry of physics – smooth sets.)

The full subcategory

DiffeologicalSpacesSh(CartSp) DiffeologicalSpaces \hookrightarrow Sh(CartSp)

on all concrete sheaves is not a topos, but is a quasitopos.

This is Prop. below.

The concreteness condition on the sheaf is a reiteration of the fact that a diffeological space is a subsheaf of the sheaf UX |U|U \mapsto X^{|U|}. In this way, one does not have to explicitly mention the underlying set XX as it is determined by the sheaf on the one-point open subset of 0\mathbb{R}^0.


  • Every smooth manifold XX, i.e. every object of Diff, becomes a diffeological space by defining the plots on UCartSpU \in CartSp to be the ordinary smooth functions from UU to XX, i.e. the morphisms in Diff:

    X:UHom Diff(U,X). X : U \mapsto Hom_{Diff}(U,X) \,.
  • For XX and YY two diffeological spaces, their product as sets X×YX \times Y becomes a diffeological space whose plots are pairs consisting of a plot into XX and one into YY

    X×Y:UHom DiffSp(U,X)×Hom DiffSp(U,Y). X \times Y : U \mapsto Hom_{DiffSp}(U,X) \times Hom_{DiffSp}(U,Y) \,.
  • Given any two diffeological spaces XX and YY, the set of morphisms Hom DiffSp(X,Y)Hom_{DiffSp}(X,Y) becomes a smooth space by taking the plots on some UU to be the smooth morphisms X×UYX \times U \to Y, i.e. the smooth UU-parameterized families of smooth maps from XX to YY:

    [X,Y]:UHom DiffSp(X×U,Y). [X,Y] : U \mapsto Hom_{DiffSp}(X \times U, Y) \,.

    In this formula we regard UCartSpDiffU \in CartSp \hookrightarrow Diff as a diffeological space according to the above example. In fact, we apply secretly here the Yoneda embedding and use the general formula for the cartesian closed monoidal structure on presheaves.


Relation to topological and Δ\Delta-generated spaces


(adjunction between topological spaces and diffeological spaces)

There is a pair of adjoint functors

(1)TopSpAAAACdfflgDtplgDifflgSp TopSp \underoverset{ \underset{ Cdfflg }{\longrightarrow} }{ \overset{ Dtplg }{\longleftarrow} }{\phantom{AA}\bot\phantom{AA}} DifflgSp

between the categories of TopologicalSpaces and of DiffeologicalSpaces, where


  1. the fixed points of this adjunction XX \inTopologicalSpaces (those for which the counit is an isomorphism, hence here: a homeomorphism) are precisely the Delta-generated topological spaces (i.e. D-topological spaces):

    XisΔ-generatedDtplg(Cdfflg(X))ϵ XX X \;\,\text{is}\;\Delta\text{-generated} \;\;\;\;\; \Leftrightarrow \;\;\;\;\; Dtplg(Cdfflg(X)) \underoverset{\simeq}{\;\;\epsilon_X\;\;}{\longrightarrow} X
  2. this is an idempotent adjunction, which exhibits Δ\Delta-generated/D-topological spaces as a reflective subcategory inside diffeological spaces and a coreflective subcategory inside all topological spaces:

(2)TopologicalSpacesAAAACdfflgDTopologicalSpacesAAAADtplgDiffeologicalSpaces TopologicalSpaces \underoverset { \underset{ Cdfflg }{\longrightarrow} } { \overset{ }{\hookleftarrow} } {\phantom{AA}\bot\phantom{AA}} DTopologicalSpaces \underoverset { \underset{ }{\hookrightarrow} } { \overset{ Dtplg }{\longleftarrow} } {\phantom{AA}\bot\phantom{AA}} DiffeologicalSpaces

Finally, these adjunctions are a sequence of Quillen equivalences with respect to the:

classical model structure on topological spacesmodel structure on D-topological spacesmodel structure on diffeological spaces

Caution: There was a gap in the original proof that DTopologicalSpaces QuillenDiffeologicalSpacesDTopologicalSpaces \simeq_{Quillen} DiffeologicalSpaces. The gap is claimed to be filled now, see the commented references here.

Essentially these adjunctions and their properties are observed in Shimakawa, Yoshida & Haraguchi 2010, Prop. 3.1, Prop. 3.2, Lem. 3.3, see also Christensen, Sinnamon & Wu 2014, Sec. 3.2. The model structures and Quillen equivalences are due to Haraguchi 13, Thm. 3.3 (on the left) and Haraguchi-Shimakawa 13, Sec. 7 (on the right).


We spell out the existence of the idempotent adjunction (2):

First, to see we have an adjunction DtplgCdfflgDtplg \dashv Cdfflg, we check the hom-isomorphism (here).

Let XDiffeologicalSpacesX \in DiffeologicalSpaces and YTopologicalSpacesY \in TopologicalSpaces. Write () s(-)_s for the underlying sets. Then a morphism, hence a continuous function of the form

f:Dtplg(X)Y, f \;\colon\; Dtplg(X) \longrightarrow Y \,,

is a function f s:X sY sf_s \colon X_s \to Y_s of the underlying sets such that for every open subset AY sA \subset Y_s and every smooth function of the form ϕ: nX\phi \colon \mathbb{R}^n \to X the preimage (f sϕ s) 1(A) n(f_s \circ \phi_s)^{-1}(A) \subset \mathbb{R}^n is open. But this means equivalently that for every such ϕ\phi, fϕf \circ \phi is continuous. This, in turn, means equivalently that the same underlying function f sf_s constitutes a smooth function f˜:XCdfflg(Y)\widetilde f \;\colon\; X \longrightarrow Cdfflg(Y).

In summary, we thus have a bijection of hom-sets

Hom(Dtplg(X),Y) Hom(X,Cdfflg(Y)) f s (f˜) s=f s \array{ Hom( Dtplg(X), Y ) &\simeq& Hom(X, Cdfflg(Y)) \\ f_s &\mapsto& (\widetilde f)_s = f_s }

given simply as the identity on the underlying functions of underlying sets. This makes it immediate that this hom-isomorphism is natural in XX and YY and this establishes the adjunction.

Next, to see that the D-topological spaces are the fixed points of this adjunction, we apply the above natural bijection on hom-sets to the case

Hom(Dtplg(Cdfflg(Z)),Y) Hom(Cdfflg(Z),Cdfflg(Y)) (ϵ Z) s (id) s \array{ Hom( Dtplg(Cdfflg(Z)), Y ) &\simeq& Hom(Cdfflg(Z), Cdfflg(Y)) \\ (\epsilon_Z)_s &\mapsto& (\mathrm{id})_s }

to find that the counit of the adjunction

Dtplg(Cdfflg(X))ϵ XX Dtplg(Cdfflg(X)) \overset{\epsilon_X}{\longrightarrow} X

is given by the identity function on the underlying sets (ϵ X) s=id (X s)(\epsilon_X)_s = id_{(X_s)}.

Therefore η X\eta_X is an isomorphism, namely a homeomorphism, precisely if the open subsets of X sX_s with respect to the topology on XX are precisely those with respect to the topology on Dtplg(Cdfflg(X))Dtplg(Cdfflg(X)), which means equivalently that the open subsets of XX coincide with those whose pre-images under all continuous functions ϕ: nX\phi \colon \mathbb{R}^n \to X are open. This means equivalently that XX is a D-topological space.

Finally, to see that we have an idempotent adjunction, it is sufficient to check (by this Prop.) that the comonad

DtplgCdfflg:TopologicalSpacesTopologicalSpaces Dtplg \circ Cdfflg \;\colon\; TopologicalSpaces \to TopologicalSpaces

is an idempotent comonad, hence that

DtplgCdfflgDtplgηCdfflgDtplgCdfflgDtplgCdfflg Dtplg \circ Cdfflg \overset{ Dtplg \cdot \eta \cdot Cdfflg }{\longrightarrow} Dtplg \circ Cdfflg \circ Dtplg \circ Cdfflg

is a natural isomorphism. But, as before for the adjunction counit ϵ\epsilon, we have that also the adjunction unit η\eta is the identity function on the underlying sets. Therefore, this being a natural isomorphism is equivalent to the operation of passing to the D-topological refinement of the topology of a topological space being an idempotent operation, which is clearly the case.

Further discussion of the D-topology is in CSW 13.

Topological homotopy type and diffeological shape


(diffeological singular simplicial set)

Consider the simplicial diffeological space

Δ Δ diff DiffeologicalSpaces [n] Δ diff n{x n+1|ix i=1} \array{ \Delta & \overset{ \Delta^\bullet_{diff} }{ \longrightarrow } & DiffeologicalSpaces \\ [n] &\mapsto& \Delta^n_{diff} \mathrlap{ \coloneqq \big\{ \vec x \in \mathbb{R}^{n+1} \;\vert\; \underset{i}{\sum} x^i = 1 \big\} } }

which in degree nn is the standard extended n-simplex inside Cartesian space n+1\mathbb{R}^{n+1}, equipped with its sub-diffeology.

This induces a nerve and realization adjunction between diffeological spaces and simplicial sets:

(3)DiffeologicalSpacesAAAASing diff|| diffSimplicialSets, DiffeologicalSpaces \underoverset { \underset{Sing_{\mathrlap{diff}}}{\longrightarrow} } { \overset{ \left\vert - \right\vert_{\mathrlap{diff}} }{\longleftarrow} } { \phantom{AA}\bot\phantom{AA} } SimplicialSets \,,

where the right adjoint is the diffeological singular simplicial set functor Sing diffSing_{diff}.

(e.g. Christensen-Wu 13, Def. 4.3)


(diffeological singular simplicial set as path ∞-groupoid)

Regarding simplicial sets as presenting ∞-groupoids, we may think of Sing diff(X)Sing_{diff}(X) (Def. ) as the path ∞-groupoid of the diffeological space XX.

In fact, by the discussion at shape via cohesive path ∞-groupoid we have that Sing diffSing_{diff} is equvialent to the shape of diffeological spaces regarded as objects of the cohesive (∞,1)-topos of smooth ∞-groupoids:

Sing diffShpi:DiffeologicalSpacesiSmoothGroupoids ShapeGroupoids Sing_{diff} \;\simeq\; Shp \circ i \;\;\colon\;\; DiffeologicalSpaces \overset{i}{\hookrightarrow} SmoothGroupoids_{\infty} \overset{Shape}{\longrightarrow} Groupoids_\infty


(topological homotopy type is cohesive shape of continuous diffeology)
For every XX \in TopologicalSpaces, the cohesive shape/path ∞-groupoid presented by its diffeological singular simplicial set (Def. , Remark ) of its continuous diffeology is naturally\,weak homotopy equivalent to the homotopy type of XX presented by the ordinary singular simplicial set:

Sing diff(Cdfflg(X))W whSing(X). Sing_{diff} \big( Cdfflg(X) \big) \underoverset { \in \mathrm{W}_{wh} } {} {\longrightarrow} Sing(X) \,.

(Christensen & Wu 2013, Prop. 4.14)


(diffeological internal hom on D-topological spaces has correct cohesive shape)
For X,ADTopSpTopSpX, A \,\in\, DTopSp \hookrightarrow TopSp a pair of D-topological spaces, their internal hom formed in diffeological spaces has diffeological singular simplicial complex Sing diff()Sing_{diff}(-) (3) weakly homotopy equivalent to the ordinary singular simplicial set Sing()Sing(-) of the ordinary mapping space Maps TopMaps_{Top} with its compact-open topology:

X,AkTopSpSing diff(Maps dfflg(X,A))W whSing(Maps Top(X,A)) X,\, A \;\in\; k TopSp \;\;\;\;\;\; \vdash \;\;\;\;\;\; Sing_{diff} \left( Maps_{dfflg} \big( X ,\, A \big) \right) \underoverset {\in \mathrm{W}_{wh}} {} {\longrightarrow} Sing \left( Maps_{Top} \big( X ,\, A \big) \right)


By SYH 10 we have the following morphism:

(4)Cdfflg(Maps Top(X,A))Cdfflg(W wh)Cdfflg(ϕ)Cdfflg(smap(X,A))Maps dfflg(X,A), Cdfflg \big( Maps_{Top}(X,\,A) \big) \underoverset { \in Cdfflg(\mathrm{W}_{wh}) } { Cdfflg(\phi) } {\longrightarrow} Cdfflg \big( \mathbf{smap}(X ,\, A) \big) \;\; \simeq \;\; Maps_{dfflg} (X,\, A) \,,

where smap\mathbf{smap} is some topologization of the set of maps (defined on their p. 6 ) of which all we need to know is that:

  1. (shown on the right of (4)) its image under CdfflgCdfflg is isomorphic to the internal hom Maps dfflgMaps_{dfflg} in diffeological spaces, according to their Prop. 4.7 (p. 7),

  2. (shown on the left of (4)) it is weak homotopy equivalent, via some map ϕ\phi according to their Prop. 5.4 (p. 9) to the compact-open topology.

Hence the claim follows by using 2-out-of-3 in the naturality square of the natural weak homotopy equivalence from Prop.

Sing diffCdfflgW whSing Sing_{diff} \circ Cdfflg \; \underoverset {\in \mathrm{W}_{wh}} {} {\longrightarrow} \; Sing

applied to (4).

Embedding of smooth manifolds into diffeological spaces


The obvious functor from the category SmoothManifolds of smooth manifolds to the category DiffeologicalSpaces of diffeological spaces is a full and faithful functor

SmoothManifoldsDiffeologicalSpacess. SmoothManifolds \hookrightarrow DiffeologicalSpacess \,.

This is a direct consequence of the fact that CartSpsmooth_{smooth} is a dense sub-site of SmoothManifolds and the Yoneda lemma.

It may nevertheless be useful to spell out the elementary proof directly:

To see that the functor is faithful, notice that if f,g:XYf,g : X \to Y are two smooth functions that differ at some point, then they must differ in some open neighbourhood of that point. This open ball is a plot, hence the corresponding diffeological spaces differ on that plot.

To see that the functor is full, we need to show that a map of sets f:XYf : X \to Y that sends plots to plots is necessarily a smooth function, hence that all its derivatives exist. This can be tested already on all smooth curves γ:(0,1)X\gamma : (0,1) \to X in XX. By Boman's theorem, a function that takes all smooth curves to smooth curves is necessarily a smooth function. But curves are in particular plots, so a function that takes all plots of XX to plots of YY must be smooth.


The proof shows that we could restrict attention to the full sub-site CartSp dim1CartSpCartSp_{dim \leq 1} \subset CartSp on the objects 0\mathbb{R}^0 and 1\mathbb{R}^1 and still have a full and faithful embedding

DiffSh(CartSp dim1). Diff \hookrightarrow Sh(CartSp_{dim \leq 1}) \,.

This fact plays a role in the definition of Frölicher spaces, which are generalized smooth spaces defined by plots by curves into and out of them.

While the site CartSp dim1CartSp_{dim \leq 1} is more convenient for some purposes, it is not so useful for other purposes, mostly when diffeological spaces are regarded from the point of view of the full sheaf topos: the sheaf topos Sh(CartSp dim1)Sh(CartSp_{dim \leq 1}) lacks some non-concrete sheaves of interest, such as the sheaves of differential forms of degree 2\geq 2.

Embedding of smooth manifolds with boundary into diffeological spaces


(manifolds with boundaries and corners form full subcategory of diffeological spaces)

The evident functor

SmthMfdWBdrCrnAAAADiffeologicalSpaces SmthMfdWBdrCrn \overset{\phantom{AAAA}}{\hookrightarrow} DiffeologicalSpaces

from the category of smooth manifolds with boundaries and corners to that of diffeological spaces is fully faithful, hence is a full subcategory-embedding.

(Iglesias-Zemmour 13, 4.16, Gürer & Iglesias-Zemmour 19)

Embedding of Banach manifolds into diffeological spaces

Also Banach manifolds embed fully faithfully into the category of diffeological spaces. In (Hain) this is discussed in terms of Chen smooth spaces.

Embedding of Fréchet manifolds into diffeological spaces

We discuss a natural embedding of Fréchet manifolds into the category of diffeological spaces.


Define a functor

ι:FrechetManifoldsDiffeologicalSpaces \iota \colon FrechetManifolds \to DiffeologicalSpaces

in the evident way by taking for XX a Fréchet manifold for any UU \in CartSp the set of UU-plots of ι(X)\iota(X) to be the set of smooth functions UXU \to X.


The functor ι:FrechetManifoldsDiffeologicalSpaces\iota \colon FrechetManifolds \hookrightarrow DiffeologicalSpaces is a full and faithful functor.

This appears as (Losik 94, theorem 3.1.1, following Losik 92), as variant of the analogous statement for Banach manifolds in (Hain). The fact that maps between Fréchet spaces are smooth if and only if they send smooth curves to smooth curves was proved earlier in (Frölicher 81, théorème 1)

The statement is also implied by (Kriegl-Michor 97, cor. 3.14) which states that functions between locally convex vector spaces are diffeologically smooth precisely if they send smooth curves to smooth curves. This is not true if one uses Michal-Bastiani smoothness (Glöckner 06), in which case one merely has a faithful functor lctvsDiffeologicalSpaceslctvs \to DiffeologicalSpaces. Notice that the choice of topology in (Kriegl-Michor 97) is such that this equivalence of notions reduces to the above just for Fréchet manifolds.


Let X,YSmoothManifoldX, Y \in SmoothManifold with XX a compact manifold.

Then under this embedding, the diffeological mapping space structure C (X,Y) diffC^\infty(X,Y)_{diff} on the mapping space coincides with the Fréchet manifold structure C (X,Y) FrC^\infty(X,Y)_{Fr}:

ι(C (X,Y) Fr)C (X,Y) diff. \iota(C^\infty(X,Y)_{Fr}) \simeq C^\infty(X,Y)_{diff} \,.

This appears as (Waldorf 09, lemma A.1.7).


Embedding of diffeological spaces into smooth sets

We discuss how diffeological spaces are equivalently the concrete objects in the cohesive topos of smooth sets (see there).


(diffeological spaces are the concrete smooth sets)

The full subcategory on the concrete objects in the topos SmoothSetSh(Cart)SmoothSet \coloneqq Sh(Cart) of smooth sets is equivalent to the category of diffeological spaces


The concrete sheaves for the local topos Sh(CartSp)Sh(CartSp) are by definition those objects XX for which the (ΓCoDisc)(\Gamma \dashv CoDisc)-unit

XCoDiscΓX X \to CoDisc \Gamma X

is a monomorphism. Monomorphisms of sheaves are tested objectwise, so that means equivalently that for every UCartSpU \in CartSp we have that

X(U)Hom Sh(U,X)Hom Sh(U,CodiscΓX)Hom Set(ΓU,ΓX) X(U) \simeq Hom_{Sh}(U,X) \to Hom_{Sh}(U, Codisc \Gamma X) \simeq Hom_{Set}(\Gamma U, \Gamma X)

is a monomorphism. This is precisely the condition on a sheaf to be a diffeological space.

For a fully detailed proof see this Prop. at geometry of physics – smooth sets.


The category of diffeological spaces is a quasitopos.


This follows from the discussion at Locality.

This has some immediate general abstract consequences


The category of diffeological spaces is

Embedding of diffeological spaces into higher differential geometry

In the last section we saw the embedding of diffeological spaces as precisely the concrete objects is the sheaf topos Sh(CartSp)Sh(SmthMfd)Sh(CartSp) \simeq Sh(SmthMfd) of smooth sets. This is a general context for differential geometry. From there one can pass further to higher differential geometry: the topos of smooth sets in turn embeds

Sh(CartSp)SmoothGrpdSh (CartSp) Sh(CartSp) \hookrightarrow Smooth \infty Grpd \coloneqq Sh_\infty(CartSp)

into the (∞,1)-topos Smooth∞Grpd of “higher smooth sets” –smooth ∞-groupoids – as precisely the 0-truncated objects.

Distribution theory

Since a space of smooth functions on a smooth manifold is canonically a diffeological space, it is natural to consider the smooth linear functionals on such mapping spaces. These turn out to be equivalent to the continuous linear functionals, hence to distributional densities. See at distributions are the smooth linear functionals for details.



The basic idea of understanding generalized smooth spaces as concrete sheaves on a site of smooth test spaces originates in work of Kuo Tsai Chen (see also at Chen space):

  • Kuo Tsai Chen, Iterated integrals of differential forms and loop space homology, Ann. Math. 97 (1973), 217–246 (jstor:1970846)

Chen considered (apart from iterated integrals) effectively presheaves on a site of convex subsets of Cartesian spaces. In

  • Kuo Tsai Chen, Iterated integrals, fundamental groups and covering spaces, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 206 (1975), 83–98 (jstor:1997148)

roughly the sheaf condition was added (without using any of this sheaf-theoretic terminology). The definition of Chen spaces stabilized in

and served as the basis of a celebrated theorem on the de Rham cohomology of loop spaces.

A brief review is in

(which, curiously, still does not make the connection to the theory of sheaves).

However, Chen does not require the domains of his plots to be open subsets, which makes Chen spaces be closely related to but different from diffeological spaces (see Stacey 11, p. 32)

The proper concept of diffeological spaces was introduced, under the name difféologie and apparently independently from Chen, in:

  • Jean-Marie Souriau, Groupes différentiels, in Differential Geometrical Methods in Mathematical Physics (Proc. Conf., Aix-en-Provence/Salamanca, 1979), Lecture Notes in Math. 836, Springer, Berlin, (1980), pp. 91–128. (doi:10.1007/BFb0089728, mr:607688)

  • Jean-Marie Souriau, Groupes différentiels et physique mathématique, In: Denardo G., Ghirardi G., Weber T. (eds.) Group Theoretical Methods in Physics. Lecture Notes in Physics, vol 201. Springer 1984 (doi:10.1007/BFb0016198)

motivated there by diffeological groups arising in geometric quantization.

The article

proved that diffeological spaces are concrete sheaves forming a quasi-topos.

A discussion of the relations of variants of the definition is in

  • Andrew Stacey, Comparative Smootheology, Theory and Applications of Categories, Vol. 25, 2011, No. 4, pp 64-117. (tac:25-04)

Differential geometry of diffeological spaces

Following Souriau, a comprehensive textbook account of differential geometry formulated in terms of diffeological spaces (and coining that term) is

following the thesis

which contains some useful material that may not yet have made it into the book.

Further exposition and lecture notes are in

Cartan calculus for diffeological spaces is developed in

Application to classifying spaces and universal connections:

  • Mark Mostow, The differentiable space structures of Milnor classifying spaces, simplicial complexes, and geometric realizations, J. Differential Geom. Volume 14, Number 2 (1979), 255-293 (euclid:jdg/1214434974)

More pointers and monthly seminars at:

Full subcategories

The full subcategory-inclusion of Banach manifolds into the category of diffeological spaces is due to

  • Richard Hain, A characterization of smooth functions defined on a Banach space, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 77 (1979), 63-67 (web, pdf)

The (non-full) embedding of locally convex vector spaces and Michal-Bastiani smooth maps into diffeological spaces is discussed around corollary 3.14 in

That there are diffeologically-smooth maps between locally convex vector spaces that are not continuous, and a fortiori not smooth in the sense of Michal-Bastiani is given, for instance, in

  • Helge Glöckner, Discontinuous non-linear mappings on locally convex direct limits, Publ. Math. Debrecen 68 (2006) 1-13, arXiv:math/0503387.

The full subcategory-inclusion of Fréchet manifolds into diffeological spaces is discussed in

  • Mark Losik, Fréchet manifolds as diffeologic spaces, Russian Mathematics 36:5 (1992), 36–42. English translation: PDF. Russian original: (mathnet:ivm4812)

and reviewed in

The proof can in fact be deduced from théorème 1 of

  • Alfred Frölicher, Applications lisses entre espaces et variétés de Fréchet, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris Sér. I Math. 293 (1981), no. 2, 125–127. BnF

The preservation of mapping spaces under this embedding is due to

The largest topology on the set which underlies a diffeological space with respect to which all plots are continuous functions (the “D-topology”) is studied in

Some homotopy theory modeled on diffeological spaces (instead of on topological spaces) via their cohesive shape is discussed in

The full subcategory-inclusion of manifolds with boundaries and corners is discussed in

For orbifolds

On orbifolds regarded as naive local quotient spaces (instead of homotopy quotients/Lie groupoids/differentiable stacks) but as such formed in diffeological spaces:

On this approach seen in the broader context of higher differential geometry:

Last revised on October 21, 2023 at 10:03:04. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.