# diagonalization

Let $V$ be a finite-dimensional linear space  over a field $K$, and $T:V\rightarrow V$ a linear transformation. To diagonalize $T$ is to find a basis of $V$ that consists of eigenvectors    . The transformation is called diagonalizable if such a basis exists. The choice of terminology reflects the fact that the matrix of a linear transformation relative to a given basis is diagonal if and only if that basis consists of eigenvectors.

Next, we give necessary and sufficient conditions for $T$ to be diagonalizable. For $\lambda\in K$ set

 $E_{\lambda}=\{u\in V:Tu=\lambda u\}.$

It isn’t hard to show that $E_{\lambda}$ is a subspace   of $V$, and that this subspace is non-trivial if and only if $\lambda$ is an of $T$. In that case, $E_{\lambda}$ is called the eigenspace  associated to $\lambda$.

###### Proposition 1

A transformation is diagonalizable if and only if

 $\dim V=\sum_{\lambda}\dim E_{\lambda},$

where the sum is taken over all eigenvalues of the transformation.

## The Matrix Approach.

As was already mentioned, the term “diagonalize” comes from a matrix-based perspective. Let $M$ be a matrix representation  (http://planetmath.org/matrix) of $T$ relative to some basis $B$. Let

 $P=[v_{1},\ldots,v_{n}],\quad n=\dim V,$

be a matrix whose column vectors  are eigenvectors expressed relative to $B$. Thus,

 $Mv_{i}=\lambda_{i}v_{i},\quad i=1,\ldots,n$

where $\lambda_{i}$ is the eigenvalue associated to $v_{i}$. The above $n$ equations are more succinctly as the matrix equation

 $MP=PD,$

where $D$ is the diagonal matrix  with $\lambda_{i}$ in the $i$-th position. Now the eigenvectors in question form a basis, if and only if $P$ is invertible   . In that case, we may write

 $M=PDP^{-1}.$ (1)

Thus in the matrix-based approach, to “diagonalize” a matrix $M$ is to find an invertible matrix $P$ and a diagonal matrix $D$ such that equation (1) is satisfied.

## Subtleties.

There are two fundamental reasons why a transformation $T$ can fail to be diagonalizable.

1. 1.
2. 2.
 Title diagonalization Canonical name Diagonalization Date of creation 2013-03-22 12:19:49 Last modified on 2013-03-22 12:19:49 Owner rmilson (146) Last modified by rmilson (146) Numerical id 16 Author rmilson (146) Entry type Definition Classification msc 15-00 Related topic Eigenvector Related topic DiagonalMatrix Defines diagonalise Defines diagonalize Defines diagonalisation Defines diagonalization