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February 6, 2007

Amplimorphisms and Quantum Symmetry, I

Posted by Urs Schreiber

Last time I mentioned that a concept called amplimorphisms plays a role in certain algebraic descriptions of quantum field theory. I gave an interpretation of the structure of these concepts in arrow-theoretic terms.

I would like to continue with talking about the relation to quantum symmetries.

Here I give an arrow-theoretic exegesis of section 2 of

J. Fuchs, A. Ganchev, P. Vecsernyes
On the quantum symmetry of rational field theories
hep-th/9407013.

For the following purpose, we will describe quantum field theory in AQFT terms, which focuses on the “algebras of observables”.

Interlude: Schrödinger and Segal versus Heisenberg and Haag-Kastler

We have mostly been talking about functorial descriptions of quantum field theory here, in which QFTs are conceived as representations of cobordism categories U:nCobHilb. U : n\mathrm{Cob} \to \mathrm{Hilb} \,. Objects XX of nCobn\mathrm{Cob} are sent to spaces of states V X, V_X \,, while morphisms XΣYX \stackrel{\Sigma}{\to} Y are sent to operations on states V XU(Σ)V Y. V_X \stackrel{U(\Sigma)}{\to} V_Y \,.

In quantum physics textbooks (which usually know nothing about functors), this perspective on quantum field theory is called the Schrödinger picture

There is another perspective on quantum field theory, known as the Heisenberg picture.

This is obtained, roughly, by applying the endomorphism functor Ad:HilbBim \mathrm{Ad} : \mathrm{Hilb} \to \mathrm{Bim} to the Schrödinger picture. This functor sends an isomorphism of Hilbert spaces to an isomorphism of the corresponding endomorphism algebras Ad:(VfW)(End(V)Ad(f)End(W)). \mathrm{Ad} : (V \stackrel{f}{\to} W) \mapsto (\mathrm{End}(V) \stackrel{\mathrm{Ad}(f)}{\to} \mathrm{End}(W)) \,. Where a vector in VV is called a state, an element in End(V)\mathrm{End}(V) is called an observable.

We all know that, at some point, the above Schrödinger picture is too coarse. Instead of 1-functors that propagate states globally over nn-cobordisms, we want to see nn-functors that propagate nn-states over pieces of nn-cobordisms #.

In particular, if our cobordisms are equipped with a Lorentzian structure, we might want to propagate states over little causal diamonds: γ x Σ y γ. \array{ & \nearrow \searrow^{\gamma} \\ x &\;\Downarrow^\Sigma& y \\ & \searrow \nearrow_{\gamma'} \,. }

This Schrödinger picture of extended QFT should have a corresponding extended Heisenberg picture, too. But nobody has yet tried to make this connection explicit.

Instead, people have directly guessed (proposed) one way to talk about the “extended Heisenberg picture”: the result is known as the theory of nets of local observables and usually addressed as (local) algebraic quantum field theory.

Notice that nobody except me ever talks about the “extended Heisenberg picture”. But they should! :-) The above picture

Schrödinger picture : nn-functorial QFT :: Heisenberg picture : AQFT

ought to be drawn in full detail, eventually. Here it serves me just to put the various concepts that I consider in the following in perspective.

(I should add that somewhat parallel to the AQFT crowd with their pre-co-sheaves of local algebras (to be described in a moment), there are people working, in the context of 2-dimensional conformal QFT, on sheaves and gerbes of vertex operator algebras, which is based on a very similar idea, but differs in detail.)

End of interlude, beginning of introduction: nets of local observables

It should now be at least plausible that the following definition has chances to capture some aspects of quantum field theory on Lorentzian domains:

Definition (Haag-Kastler nets). For a given Lorentzian manifold MM, denote by OO the category whose objects are its causal diamonds (the union of all time-like curves between a given pair of points in MM) and whose morphisms are inclusions of these. A net of local observables is a certain pre-cosheaf of C *C^*-algebras on OO.

(I say “certain” pre-cosheaf because there are some funny details about this. On the one hand, a sheaf condition is curiously missing, on the other hand it is usually demanded that all co-restriction maps of algebras are by injective morphisms. This looks unnatural to me. I suspect that we will eventually find a a more natural formulation of this.)

But anyway. The only other axiom of real relevance for the following discussion is this:

Locality property: We demand that whenever the causal diamonds O 1O 0O_1 \subset O_0 and O 2O 0O_2 \subset O_0 are spacelike separated, then the sub-algebras associated to them mutually commute.

Finally, we assume that the inductive limit of all these “local” algebras over all causal diamonds does exist. The resulting algebra (“of observables on MM”) shall be called A. A \,. This is the object of interest now.

End of introduction, finally the main point: the arrow theory of localized endomorphisms.

As every algebra, AA lives in Bim, \mathrm{Bim} \,, the 2-category whose objects are algebras, whose morphisms are bimodules between these and whose 2-morphisms are bimodule intertwiners.

Notice that we could regard algebras as 1-object Vect\mathrm{Vect}-enriched categories. This would suggest an obvious 2-category structure on them, too. But this 2-category naturally embeds into Bim\mathrm{Bim}. The latter is like the category of profunctors between 1-object Vect\mathrm{Vect}-enriched categories. Keeping this in mind, I’ll be talking about Bim\mathrm{Bim}.

We noticed before that Bim\mathrm{Bim} is monoidal since Vect\mathrm{Vect} is braided. The tensor unit in Bim\mathrm{Bim} is 1:= 1 := \mathbb{C} the ground field \mathbb{C} itself (That’s the ground field used in quantum field theory applications.)

Now, we may regard AA in a trivial way as a 11-AA-bimodule. The corresponding morphism in Bim\mathrm{Bim} we write 1AA. 1 \stackrel{A}{\to} A \,.

Since the left algebra is sort of trivial, we think of this bimodule as just being a right module for AA.

For our physics needs, this is called the vacuum representation of our algebra of observables AA.

The real entity of interest is the monoidal category End Bim(A) \mathrm{End}_\mathrm{Bim}(A) of AA-AA-bimodules. To make contact with the QFT literature, we would restrict this to those bimodules and their homomorphisms that come from functors between algabras and natural transformations bertween these.

More importantly, we want to restrict to localized algebra endomorphisms. This are all those that act nontrivially only on a sub-algebra of AA corresponding to some causal diamond OO.

So we get a monoidal sub-category End Bim loca(A)End Bim(A) \mathrm{End}^\mathrm{loca}_\mathrm{Bim}(A) \subset \mathrm{End}_\mathrm{Bim}(A) of local endomorphisms.

By composing any endomorphism of AA AfA A \stackrel{f}{\to} A with the “vacucum representation” 1AA 1 \stackrel{A}{\to} A we get another representation 1AAfA. 1 \stackrel{A}{\to} A \stackrel{f}{\to} A \,. The representations obtained from End(A)\mathrm{End}(A) this way are called the Doplicher-Haag-Roberts (DHR) representations.

Of course, for us this passage from endomorphisms to “representations” simply amounts to forgetting the left AA-action on an AA-AA bimodule.

The interesting point of all this is that, due to this locality requirement, the monoidal category End Bim loca(A)\mathrm{End}^\mathrm{loca}_\mathrm{Bim}(A) is braided!

Namely, using unitary operators U 1U_1 and U 2U_2 in AA with spacelike separated support, we may translate any two localized endomorphisms f if_i to endomorphisms f˜ i\tilde f_i with spacelike separated support f i A U i A f˜ i \array{ & \nearrow \searrow^{f_i} \\ A &\;\Downarrow^{U_i}& A \\ & \searrow \nearrow_{\tilde f_i} } which therefore commute (Af˜ 1Af˜ 2A)=(Af˜ 2Af˜ 1A). (A \stackrel{\tilde f_1}{\to} A \stackrel{\tilde f_2}{\to} A) = (A \stackrel{\tilde f_2}{\to} A \stackrel{\tilde f_1}{\to} A) \,. Transporting the commuted f˜ i\tilde f_i back along U iU_i defines a braiding on End loc(A)\mathrm{End}^\mathrm{loc}(A).

One shows that this braiding

- is symmetric whenever the dimension of the Lorentzian manifold is greater than 2

- is nontrivial in dimension 2.

(Compare all this with section 2 of the above review)


What does all this have to do with amplimorphisms?

Nothing directly yet. But they come in as follows:

In physics applications, we will be thinking of the equivalence classes in End loc(A)\mathrm{End}^\mathrm{loc}(A) as the superselection sectors of the theory, and of equivalence classes of simple objects (irreps) as ‘elementary (particle) excitations’ of the theory.

The Doplicher-Roberts reconstruction theorem then makes us want to understand End loc(A)\mathrm{End}^\mathrm{loc}(A) as the category of representations of the “gauge symmetry” of the theory.

Since End loc(A)\mathrm{End}^\mathrm{loc}(A) is braided, this requires a braided version of the original Doplicher-Roberts result.

It turns out that we may find a certain Hopf algebra, and a certain notion of representations of it, based on amplimorphisms, such that it is equivalent to End loc(A)\mathrm{End}^\mathrm{loc}(A).

This I will maybe describe elsewhere.

Posted at February 6, 2007 10:30 AM UTC

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Read the post Amplimorphisms
Weblog: The n-Category Café
Excerpt: A certain notion of twisted morphisms of algebras -- and how to think about it.
Tracked: February 6, 2007 3:24 PM

GNS

Given what I just said about the passage from the Schrödinger to the Heisenberg picture:

can anyone say a sensible sentence that contains the terms “GNS construction” as well as “adjoint functor”?

I am trying to see if we can understand this Schrödinger/Heisenberg transition and the corresponding extended-functorial-QFT/AQFT-CDO transition on general abstract nonsense grounds.

Posted by: urs on February 6, 2007 6:12 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

Let’s see, what could I possibly mean:

(certainly I am after something well known and standard and am making a fool of myself, but okay)

Let CC be the category of C *C^* algebras. Let Hilb\mathrm{Hilb} be the category of (complex) Hilbert spaces and unitary transformations.

I guess we have a functor HilbC \mathrm{Hilb} \to C which sends a Hilbert space to its algebra of bounded operators and an isomorphism f:H 1H 2f : H_1 \to H_2 to the corresponding algebra isomorphism Ad(f)\mathrm{Ad}(f).

Moreover, I assume we get a functor the other way around CHilb C \to \mathrm{Hilb} by way of the GNS construction. For each C *C^* algebra we choose a state and form the corresponding GNS Hilbert space.

(And if we don’t want to choose, I guess we can get an anafunctor.)

What is the relation between these two functors? Are they adjoint?

Posted by: urs on February 6, 2007 6:44 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

I’m interested in this too. Perhaps it is well -known, but the characterization of C*C*-algebras as subalgebras of the bounded operators on Hilbert spaces - via the GNS construction - wasn’t expressed in an ‘adjoint functor way’ when I learnt about this stuff from Klaas Landsman’s lectures . See chapter 7 of Part I. It would be nice to see it expressed that way - although the use of a number of choices in the GNS construction makes one fear for the worst.

After all, the structure theorem for commutative C *C^*-algebras (the Gelfand-Naimark theorem) can be expressed in a nice functorial way. Recall that it says that the category CHausCHaus of compact Hausdorff spaces and continuous maps is dual to the category cCAlgcCAlg of unital commutative C *C^*-algebras:

(1)C:CHauscCAlg:Δ C : CHaus \leftrightarrow cCAlg : \Delta

The word dual means that this is a pair of contravariant functors, forming an equivalence.

I’m rather fond of this theorem since one can categoryify it, as John Baez (and James Dolan I believe) did in their work on 2H *2-H^*-algebras. This has also been discussed elsewehere in this blog (here and here) - I think its cool!

Posted by: Bruce Bartlett on February 6, 2007 7:38 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

Hi Bruce,

thanks for the comment! I was beginning to feel a little lonesome with my monologue here. :-)

[…] wasn’t expressed in an ‘adjoint functor way’ when I learnt […]

Yes, nobody seems to mention it. I was trying to do searches, but without any success.

(One problem is of course that the keyword “adjoint” appears all over the place with “GNS”, just not in the combination “adjoint functor”.)

[…] the structure theorem for commutative C *C^*-algebras

[…]

one can categorify […] I think its cool!

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree!

In fact, this should still be important for what we are after here.

Usually, in vanilla QM, we consider the commutative C *C^* algebra of (operators of multiplication by) functions on space(time) f(x)f(x).

This turns into non-commutative as we start “propagating” these operators by Ad(U(t))\mathrm{Ad}(U(t)): in general [f(x(0)),f(x(t))]0 [f(x(0)),f(x(t))] \neq 0 since, for instance for the free particle, x(t)=x+tmpx(t) = x + \frac{t}{m}p .

(Hope you know what I am talking about.)

I think somebody should go ahead and make a complete arrow-theoretic exegesis of the standard QM textbook treatment of Schrödinger/Heisenberg-picture.

Then we categorify.

Posted by: urs on February 6, 2007 7:56 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

I think somebody should go ahead and make a complete arrow-theoretic exegesis of the standard QM textbook treatment of Schrödinger/Heisenberg-picture.

Then we categorify.

Hooray!

Posted by: Bruce Bartlett on February 6, 2007 9:18 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

Moreover, I assume we get a functor [from the groupoid of C* algebras to the groupoid of Hilbert spaces] by way of the GNS construction. For each C* algebra we choose a state and form the corresponding GNS Hilbert space.

(And if we don’t want to choose, I guess we can get an anafunctor.)

To really get an anafunctor, you need that resulting Hilbert space is (up to isomorphism) independent of the chosen state. (Actually, you need a bit more than that.) Is that really true? I didn’t think so, but I never understood GNS as well as I ought.

Posted by: Toby Bartels on February 7, 2007 10:45 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

you need that resulting Hilbert space is (up to isomorphism) independent of the chosen state.

Right, I did assume this is the case. I’ll need to check that.

Posted by: urs on February 8, 2007 10:34 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

you need that resulting Hilbert space is (up to isomorphism) independent of the chosen state.

Right, I did assume this is the case. I’ll need to check that.

I did check now (here and here). You (Toby) were of course completely right. I made a stupid beginner’s mistake in not properly appreciating the depence of the construction on the chosen state.

So now I am looking for the right reformulation of the question such that it has a positive answer. (So my meta question is really, I guess: “In which sense does that GNS construction provide a functor, and does it have a weak inverse, or at least an adjoint?”)

Posted by: urs on March 4, 2007 1:27 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: GNS

Things are developing.

Now it looks like I have a chance to get an equivalence of categories between Hilb cyc, \mathrm{Hilb}_\mathrm{cyc} \,, the category of Hilbert spaces HH with a chosen cyclic vector (wrtB(H)wrt B(H)) on them and C st *, C^*_{\mathrm{st}} \,, the category of C *C^*-algebras with a chosen state on them.

That would actually be better than what I was originally trying to get. Certainly the Hilbert spaces which I have in mind come equipped with a good vacuum vector.

That would be very nice.

Posted by: urs on March 5, 2007 11:20 PM | Permalink | Reply to this
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