operator algebra


Functional analysis

Operator algebra

algebraic quantum field theory (perturbative, on curved spacetimes, homotopical)



field theory: classical, pre-quantum, quantum, perturbative quantum

Lagrangian field theory


quantum mechanical system, quantum probability

free field quantization

gauge theories

interacting field quantization



States and observables

Operator algebra

Local QFT

Perturbative QFT



An operator algebra is any subalgebra of the algebra of continuous linear operators on a topological vector space, with composition as the multiplication. In most cases, the space is a separable Hilbert space, and most attention historically has been paid to algebras of bounded linear operators. The operator algebras themselves are often equipped with their own topologies (e.g. norm topology, weak topology, weak*^* topology and so on) and sometimes involution. C *C^*-algebras are (in the complex case) norm-closed complex **-subalgebras of the algebra of the bounded linear operators on a Hilbert space. They can be however characterized structurally as a **-representation of a Banach algebra with involution satisfying some compatibility conditions; the latter could be called abstract C *C^*-algebras (or sometimes B *B^*-algebras). Every commutative unital C *C^*-algebra can be realized as an algebra of functions on a Hausdorff compact space, which is obtained as its Gel'fand spectrum.

Special class of C *C^*-algebras are von Neumann or W *W^*-algebras (see wikipedia), which are (in the complex case) weakly closed (closed in the weak topology) **-subalgebras of the algebra of bounded linear operators on a Hilbert space. In structural theory, an important role among von Neumann algebras is played by so-called factors, characterized by the property that their center is trivial (11-dimensional, consisting of “scalars”).

Operator algebras play major roles in functional analysis, representation theory, noncommutative geometry and quantum field theory.

Topics of interest for the understanding of AQFT

This paragraph will collect some facts of interest for the aspects of AQFT in the nLab. Unless stated otherwise all operator algebras will be assumed to be unital, i.e. having an identiy denoted by 𝟙\mathbb{1}.


See states.


There are a lot of textbooks about operator algebras, here are some examples:

The classic textbook is this:

  • Kadison, Richard V.; Ringrose, John R., Fundamentals of the theory of operator algebras I and II, (ZMATH)

These have two accompanying volumes (same title, numbers III and IV) which contain complete solutions to the extensive list of excercises. Highly recommended.

One of the founders of the Tomito-Takesaki modular theory has recently published a three volume treatise in the Encyclopaedia of Mathematical Sciences:

Lecture notes with an eye towards application in quantum physics includes

There is also

Last revised on February 7, 2017 at 12:29:23. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.