# example of bounded operator with no eigenvalues

Consider the Hilbert space $L^{2}([0,1])$ (http://planetmath.org/L2SpacesAreHilbertSpaces) and let $f:[0,1]\longrightarrow\mathbb{C}$ be the function $f(t)=t$.

Let $T:L^{2}([0,1])\longrightarrow L^{2}([0,1])$ be the operator of multiplication  (http://planetmath.org/MultiplicationOperatorOnMathbbL22) by $f$

 $T(\varphi)=f\varphi\,,\qquad\qquad\varphi\in L^{2}([0,1])$

Thus, $T$ is a bounded operator   , since it is a multiplication operator (see this entry (http://planetmath.org/OperatorNormOfMultiplicationOperatorOnL2)). Also, it is easily seen that $T$ is self-adjoint.

We now prove that $T$ has no eigenvalues: suppose $\lambda\in\mathbb{C}$ is an eigenvalue of $T$ and $\varphi$ is an eigenvector    . Then,

 $T\varphi=\lambda\varphi$

This means that $(f-\lambda)\varphi=0$, but this is impossible for $\varphi\neq 0$ since $f-\lambda$ has at most one zero. Hence, $T$ has no eigenvalues.

Of course, since the Hilbert space is complex, the spectrum of $T$ is non-empty (see this entry (http://planetmath.org/SpectrumIsANonEmptyCompactSet)). Moreover, the spectrum of $T$ can be easily computed and seen to be the whole interval $[0,1]$, as we explain now:

It is known that an operator of multiplication by a continuous function   $g$ is invertible   if and only if $g$ is invertible. Thus, for every $\lambda\in\mathbb{C}$, $T-\lambda I$ is easily seen to be the operator of multiplication by $(f-\lambda)$. Hence, $T-\lambda I$ is not invertible if and only if $\lambda\in[0,1]$, i.e. $\sigma(T)=[0,1]$.

Title example of bounded operator with no eigenvalues ExampleOfBoundedOperatorWithNoEigenvalues 2013-03-22 17:57:53 2013-03-22 17:57:53 asteroid (17536) asteroid (17536) 7 asteroid (17536) Example msc 15A18 msc 47A10