spectral theorem


theory \PMlinkescapephrasestate \PMlinkescapephrasetheory \PMlinkescapephraseseries \PMlinkescapephraseboundedPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath \PMlinkescapephraseunboundedPlanetmathPlanetmath

1 Introduction

The spectral theoremMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath is series of results in functional analysisMathworldPlanetmath that explore conditions for operatorsMathworldPlanetmath in Hilbert spacesMathworldPlanetmath to be diagonalizable (in some appropriate sense). These results can also describe how the diagonalization takes , mainly by analyzing how the operator acts in the underlying Hilbert space.

Roughly speaking, the spectral theorems state that normal operators (or self-adjoint operators) are diagonalizable and can be expressed as a sum or, more generally, as an integral of projectionsPlanetmathPlanetmath. More specifically, a normal (or self-adjointPlanetmathPlanetmath) operator T is unitarily equivalentMathworldPlanetmath to a multiplication operator in some L2-space (http://planetmath.org/L2SpacesAreHilbertSpaces) and we can to it a spectral measure (or a resolution of identity) whose integration gives is T.

There is a wide of spectral theorems, each one with its own , applicable to many classes of normal and self-adjoint operators.

2 Motivation

We explore here two to motivate the spectral theorem. The first is by recalling the finite-dimensional case, corresponding to the well known result in linear algebra, the spectral theorem for Hermitian matrices (http://planetmath.org/SpectralTheoremForHermitianMatrices) (or the self-adjoint analog). The second motivation comes from the C*-algebraMathworldPlanetmath (http://planetmath.org/CAlgebra) theory, by regarding a normal (or self-adjoint) operator as a continuous functionMathworldPlanetmath.

2.0.1 Finite-dimensional case

Suppose T is a self-adjoint operator in a finite-dimensional Hilbert space H. An important fact about self-adjoint operators (not just in finite-dimensional spaces) is the following:

Fact 1 - If VH is an invariant subspace by T, then so it is V, the orthogonal complementMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath of V.

Proof: Let xV and yV. Then x,Ty=Tx,y=0, where the last term is zero because V is invariantMathworldPlanetmath by T, i.e. TxV. But this proves that TyV.

In finite dimensionsMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath it is known that every linear transformation has, at least, one eigenvectorMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath. Of course, the subspaceMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath generated by an eigenvector is always invariant.

Let v1 be an eigenvector of T and V1 the subspace generated by it. For self-adjoint transformations, Fact 1 above says that V1 is also invariant by T. Thus, by restrictionPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath (http://planetmath.org/RestrictionOfAFunction), we have a self-adjoint operator T:V1V1 and we could again find an eigenvector and repeat the same . Thus, we are decomposing H as a direct sum of orthogonalMathworldPlanetmath one-dimensional subspaces H=V1Vn, and the operator T can be expressed as a sum


where each λi is the eigenvalueMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath associated with the eigenvector vi and each Pi is the orthogonal projection onto the subspace Vi.

This is exactly the process of diagonalization of a self-adjoint matrix.

For normal operators it is more subtle as Fact 1 is no longer true. The idea to overpass this is that eigenvectors of normal operators are always orthogonal to each other (see this entry (http://planetmath.org/EigenvaluesOfNormalOperators)).

2.0.2 C*-algebras

Suppose T is a self-adjoint operator in some Hilbert space H. The closed *-algebra generated by T and the identity operatorMathworldPlanetmath is a commutative C*-algebra (http://planetmath.org/CAlgebra), which we denote by C*(T). Hence, the Gelfand-Naimark theoremMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath (http://planetmath.org/GelfandTransform) and the continuous functional calculus provide an isomorphismPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath


where σ(T) stands for the spectrum of T and C(σ(T)) is the C*-algebra of continuous functions σ(T).

Recall that the spectrum of a self-adjoint operator is a always a compact subset of . Thus, we can think of T as a continuous function defined in a subset of .

It is a well known fact from measure theory that every continuous function f:X can be approximated by linear combinationsMathworldPlanetmath of characteristic functionsMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath. With some additional effort it can be seen that each continuous function f is in fact a (vector valued) integral of characteristic functions


where χ is the vector measure of characteristic functions χ(A):=χA.

We now notice that characteristic functions in σ(T) are not continuous in general. Hence, they may not have a correspondent in the C*(T), the C*-algebra generated by T and the identityPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath. The fact is that they do have a correspondent in the von Neumann algebraMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath generated by T. Informally, this is the same as saying that characteristic functions belong to L(σ(T)) rather then C(σ(T)).

The correspondent operators in the von Neumann algebra generated by T must be projections (since characteristic functions are projections in L), and similarly, T can be approximated by linear combinations of projections and can, in fact, be expressed as an integral of projections:


where P(λ) is a resolution of identity for T (or a projection valued measure, when T is a normal operator).

3 Spectral Theorems

Here we list a series of spectral theorems, applicable to different classes of normal or self-adjoint operators.

3.0.1 Normal Operators

  • spectral theorem for Hermitean matrices (http://planetmath.org/SpectralTheoremForHermitianMatrices)

    This is the finite-dimensional case. It is often referred to as ”the spectral theorem”, especially in linear algebra.

  • spectral theorem for bounded (http://planetmath.org/OperatorNorm) normal operators in separable Hilbert spaces

  • spectral theorem for bounded normal operators in inseparable Hilbert spaces

  • spectral theorem for compact (http://planetmath.org/CompactOperator) normal operators

  • spectral theorem for unbounded (http://planetmath.org/OperatorNorm) normal operators

3.0.2 Self-adjoint Operators

  • spectral theorem for self-adjoint matrices

  • spectral theorem for bounded self-adjoint operators in separable Hilbert spaces

  • spectral theorem for bounded self-adjoint operators in inseparable Hilbert spaces

  • spectral theorem for self-adjoint operators

  • spectral theorem for unbounded self-adjoint operators

Title spectral theorem
Canonical name SpectralTheorem1
Date of creation 2013-03-22 18:04:30
Last modified on 2013-03-22 18:04:30
Owner asteroid (17536)
Last modified by asteroid (17536)
Numerical id 12
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Entry type Feature
Classification msc 47B15
Classification msc 47A15
Classification msc 47A10
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