# Adjoint representation of a Lie algebra

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

In mathematics, the adjoint endomorphism or adjoint action is a homomorphism of Lie algebras that plays a fundamental role in the development of the theory of Lie algebras.

$\operatorname {ad} _{x}(y)=[x,y]$ $\operatorname {ad} :{\mathfrak {g}}\to \operatorname {End} ({\mathfrak {g}})$ given by $x\mapsto \operatorname {ad} _{x}$ is a representation of a Lie algebra and is called the adjoint representation of the algebra. (Its image actually lies in $\operatorname {Der} ({\mathfrak {g}})$ . See below.)

Within $\operatorname {End} ({\mathfrak {g}})$ , the Lie bracket is, by definition, given by the commutator of the two operators:

$[\operatorname {ad} _{x},\operatorname {ad} _{y}]=\operatorname {ad} _{x}\circ \operatorname {ad} _{y}-\operatorname {ad} _{y}\circ \operatorname {ad} _{x}$ Using the above definition of the Lie bracket, the Jacobi identity

$[x,[y,z]]+[y,[z,x]]+[z,[x,y]]=0$ takes the form

$\left([\operatorname {ad} _{x},\operatorname {ad} _{y}]\right)(z)=\left(\operatorname {ad} _{[x,y]}\right)(z)$ This last identity says that ad really is a Lie algebra homomorphism; i.e., a linear mapping that takes brackets to brackets.

In a more module-theoretic language, the construction simply says that ${\mathfrak {g}}$ is a module over itself.

$\delta ([x,y])=[\delta (x),y]+[x,\delta (y)]$ for all x and y in the algebra.

That adx is a derivation is a consequence of the Jacobi identity. This implies that the image of ${\mathfrak {g}}$ under ad is a subalgebra of $\operatorname {Der} ({\mathfrak {g}})$ , the space of all derivations of ${\mathfrak {g}}$ .

## Structure constants

The explicit matrix elements of the adjoint representation are given by the structure constants of the algebra. That is, let {ei} be a set of basis vectors for the algebra, with

$[e^{i},e^{j}]=\sum _{k}{c^{ij}}_{k}e^{k}.$ Then the matrix elements for adei are given by

${\left[\operatorname {ad} _{e^{i}}\right]_{k}}^{j}={c^{ij}}_{k}.$ Thus, for example, the adjoint representation of su(2) is the defining rep of so(3).

$\Psi _{g}(h)=ghg^{-1}.$ $\operatorname {Ad} _{g}=(d\Psi _{g})_{e}:T_{e}G\rightarrow T_{e}G$ $\operatorname {ad} =d(\operatorname {Ad} )_{e}:T_{e}G\rightarrow \operatorname {End} (T_{e}G).$ The use of upper-case/lower-case notation is used extensively in the literature. Thus, for example, a vector x in the algebra ${\mathfrak {g}}$ generates a vector field X in the group G. Similarly, the adjoint map adxy=[x,y] of vectors in ${\mathfrak {g}}$ is homomorphic to the Lie derivative LXY =[X,Y] of vector fields on the group G considered as a manifold.