nLab type II geometry



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)

Higher geometry



Type II geometry (often doubled geometry as in “double field theory”) is to Riemannian geometry as generalized complex geometry is to complex geometry.

Where the latter is the geometry induced by reduction of the structure group of the generalized tangent bundle of an even dimensional manifold along the inclusion U(d,d)O(2d,2d)U(d,d) \to O(2d,2d) of the indefinite unitary group into the orthogonal group, type II geometry is the geometry induced by reduction along the inclusion of the product of orthogonal groups

O(n)×O(n)O(n,n), O(n) \times O(n) \to O(n,n) \,,

which is the inclusion of the maximal compact subgroup into the Narain group.

This notion takes its name from the fact that it describes a good bit of the geometry of type II supergravity.


The definition of type II geometry proceeds in direct analogy with that of Riemannian geometry in terms of orthogonal structure/vielbein fields on the tangent bundle, generalized here to the generalized tangent bundle:

  1. As a fiberwise metric on the generalized tangent bundle

  2. By reduction of the structure group of the generalized tangent bundle

By fiberwise metric on the generalized tangent bundle


By reduction of the generalized tangent bundle

We discuss how a type II geometry is the reduction of the structure group of the generalized tangent bundle along the inclusion O(d)×O(d)O(d,d)O(d) \times O(d) \to O(d,d).


Consider the Lie group inclusion

O(d)×O(d)O(d,d) \mathrm{O}(d) \times \mathrm{O}(d) \to \mathrm{O}(d,d)

of those orthogonal transformations, that preserve the positive definite part or the negative definite part of the bilinear form of signature (d,d)(d,d), respectively.

If O(d,d)\mathrm{O}(d,d) is presented as the group of 2d×2d2d \times 2d-matrices that preserve the bilinear form given by the 2d×2d2d \times 2d-matrix

η(0 id d id d 0) \eta \coloneqq \left( \array{ 0 & \mathrm{id}_d \\ \mathrm{id}_d & 0 } \right)

then this inclusion sends a pair (A +,A )(A_+, A_-) of orthogonal n×nn \times n-matrices to the matrix

(A +,A )12(A ++A A +A A +A A ++A ). (A_+ , A_-) \mapsto \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} \left( \array{ A_+ + A_- & A_+ - A_- \\ A_+ - A_- & A_+ + A_- } \right) \,.

This inclusion of Lie groups induces the corresponding morphism of smooth moduli stacks of principal bundles

TypeII:B(O(d)×O(d))BO(d,d). \mathbf{TypeII} : \mathbf{B}(\mathrm{O}(d) \times \mathrm{O}(d)) \to \mathbf{B} \mathrm{O}(d,d) \,.

There is a fiber sequence of smooth stacks

O(d)\O(d,d)/O(d)B(O(d)×O(d))TypeIIBO(d,d), O(d) \backslash O(d,d) / O(d) \to \mathbf{B}(\mathrm{O}(d) \times \mathrm{O}(d)) \stackrel{\mathbf{TypeII}}{\to} \mathbf{B} \mathrm{O}(d,d) \,,

where the fiber on the left is the coset space of the action of O(d)×O(d)O(d) \times O(d) on O(d,d)O(d,d).


There is a canonical embedding

GL(d)O(d,d) \mathrm{GL}(d) \hookrightarrow \mathrm{O}(d,d)

of the general linear group.

In the above matrix presentation this is given by sending

a(a 0 0 a T), a \mapsto \left( \array{ a & 0 \\ 0 & a^{-T} } \right) \,,

where in the bottom right corner we have the transpose of the inverse matrix of the invertble matrix aa.


Under inclusion of def. , the tangent bundle of a dd-dimensional manifold XX defines an O(d,d)\mathrm{O}(d,d)-cocycle

TXT *X:XTXBGL(d)BO(d,d). T X \oplus T^* X : X \stackrel{T X}{\to} \mathbf{B}\mathrm{GL}(d) \stackrel{}{\to} \mathbf{B} \mathrm{O}(d,d) \,.

The vector bundle canonically associated to this composite cocycles may canonically be identified with the direct sum vector bundle TXT *XT X \oplus T^* X, and so we will refer to this cocycle by these symbols, as indicated. This is also called the generalized tangent bundle of XX.

Therefore we may canonically consider the groupoid of TXT *XT X \oplus T^* X-twisted TypeII\mathbf{TypeII}-structures, according to the general notion of twisted differential c-structures.

More generally, instead of E=TXT *XE = T X \oplus T^* X one considers bundle extensions EE of the form

T *XETX. T^* X \to E \to T X \,.

These may have structure froups in O(n,n)O(n,n) but not in the inclusion GL(n)O(n,n)GL(n) \hookrightarrow O(n,n). For more on this see the section Geometric and non-geometric type II geometries below. Accordingly, in all of the following TXT *XT X \oplus T^* X could be replaced by a more general extension EE.


A type II generalized vielbein on a smooth manifold XX is a diagram

X (˜TXT *X) B(O(n)×O(n)) TXT *X E TypeII BO(n,n) \array{ X &&\stackrel{\widetilde(T X \oplus T^* X)}{\to}&& \mathbf{B}(O(n) \times O(n)) \\ & {}_{\mathllap{T X \oplus T^* X}}\searrow &\swArrow_{E}& \swarrow_{\mathrlap{\mathbf{TypeII}}} \\ && \mathbf{B} O(n,n) }

in H=\mathbf{H} = Smooth∞Grpd, hence a cocycle in the smooth twisted cohomology

ETypeIIStruc(X)H /BO(n,n)(TXT *X,TypeII). E \in \mathbf{TypeII}Struc(X) \coloneqq \mathbf{H}_{/\mathbf{B} O(n,n)}(T X \oplus T^* X, \mathbf{TypeII}) \,.
Proposition / Definition

The groupoid TypeIIStruc(X)\mathbf{TypeII}\mathrm{Struc}(X) is that of “generalized vielbein fields” on XX, as considered for instance around equation (2.24) of (GMPW) (there only locally, but the globalization is evident).

In particular, its set of equivalence classes is the set of type-II generalized geometry structures on XX.


Over a local coordinate chart dU iX\mathbb{R}^d \simeq U_i \hookrightarrow X, the most general such generalized vielbein (hence the most general O(d,d)\mathrm{O}(d,d)-valued function) may be parameterized as

E=12((e ++e )+(e + Te T)B (e + Te T) (e +e )(e + T+e T)B (e + T+e T)), E = \frac{1}{2} \left( \array{ (e_+ + e_-) + (e_+^{-T} - e_-^{-T})B & (e_+^{-T} - e_-^{-T}) \\ (e_+ - e_-) - (e_+^{-T} + e_-^{-T})B & (e_+^{-T} + e_-^{-T}) } \right) \,,

where e +,e C (U i,O(d))e_+, e_- \in C^\infty(U_i, \mathrm{O}(d)) are thought of as two ordinary vielbein fields, and where BB is any smooth skew-symmetric n×nn \times n-matrix valued function on dU i\mathbb{R}^d \simeq U_i.

By an O(d)×O(d)\mathrm{O}(d) \times \mathrm{O}(d)-gauge transformation this can always be brought into a form where e +=e =:12ee_+ = e_- =: \tfrac{1}{2}e such that

E=(e 0 e TB e T). E = \left( \array{ e & 0 \\ - e^{-T}B & e^{-T} } \right) \,.

The corresponding “generalized metric” over U iU_i is

E TE=(e T Be 1 0 e 1)(e 0 e TB e T)=(gBg 1B Bg 1 g 1B g 1), E^T E = \left( \array{ e^T & B e^{-1} \\ 0 & e^{-1} } \right) \left( \array{ e & 0 \\ - e^{-T}B & e^{-T} } \right) = \left( \array{ g - B g^{-1} B & B g^{-1} \\ - g^{-1} B & g^{-1} } \right) \,,


ge Te g \coloneqq e^T e

is the metric (over qU i\mathbb{R}^q \simeq U_i a smooth function with values in symmetric n×nn \times n-matrices) given by the ordinary vielbein ee.

Geometric and “non-geometric” type II geometries


An element in O(d,d)O(d,d) which in the canonical matrix presentation is of the block form

e ω(1 d 0 ω 1 d) e^\omega \coloneqq \left( \array{ 1_d & 0 \\ \omega & 1_d } \right)

is called a BB-transform. An element of the block form

e β(1 d β 0 1 d) e^\beta \coloneqq \left( \array{ 1_d & \beta \\ 0 & 1_d } \right)

is called a β\beta-transform. The subgroup

G geom(d)O(d,d) G_{geom}(d) \hookrightarrow O(d,d)

generated by Gl(d)O(d,d)Gl(d) \hookrightarrow O(d,d) and the B-transforms, hence that of matrices with vaishing top right block is called the geometric subgroup (e.g. GMPW, p.5).

A type II background where the structure group of the generalized tangent bundle is not in the inclusion of the geometric subgroup is often called a non-geometric background (e.g. GMPW, section 5).

Application in type II supergravity

The target space geometry for type II superstrings in the NS-NS sector , type II supergravity, is naturally encoded by type II geometry.



The appearance of type II geometry in type II supergravity/type II string theory is discussed for instance in

The genuine reformulation of type II supergravity as a (O(d)×O(d)O(d,d))(O(d)\times O(d) \hookrightarrow O(d,d))-gauge/gravity theory is in


the geometry of the reduction O(d)×O(d)O(d,d)O(d) \times O(d) \to O(d,d) was referred to as “type I geometry”, with “type II geometry” instead referring to further U-duality group extensions, discussed at exceptional generalized geometry.

See also for para-Hermitian manifolds:

Doubled super-geometry

Much of the discussion of type II geometry has in fact been purely bosonic, ignoring the super-geometry of supergravity.

In contrast, discussion combining doubled geometry with super-geometry includes the following:

See also the references on the corresponding super-geometry-enhancement of exceptional generalized geometry: Super-exceptional geometry – References

Last revised on January 14, 2023 at 05:31:05. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.