# nLab topological group

### Context

#### Topology

topology

algebraic topology

group theory

# Contents

## Idea

A topological group is a topological space with a continuous group structure: a group object in the category Top.

## Definition

###### Definition

A topological group is an internal group object in the category of topological spaces.

More explicitly, it is a group equipped with a topology such that the multiplication and inversion maps are continuous.

## Properties

### Uniform structure

A topological group $G$ carries two canonical uniformities: a right and left uniformity. The right uniformity consists of entourages $\sim_{l, U}$ where $x \sim_{l, U} y$ if $x y^{-1} \in U$; here $U$ ranges over neighborhoods of the identity that are symmetric: $g \in U \Leftrightarrow g^{-1} \in U$. The left uniformity similarly consists of entourages $\sim_{r, U}$ where $x \sim_{r, U} y$ if $x^{-1} y \in U$. The uniform topology for either coincides with the topology of $G$.

Obviously when $G$ is commutative, the left and right uniformities coincide. They also coincide if $G$ is compact Hausdorff, since in that case there is only one uniformity whose uniform topology reproduces the given topology.

Let $G$, $H$ be topological groups, and equip each with their left uniformities. Let $f: G \to H$ be a group homomorphism.

###### Proposition

The following are equivalent:

• The map $f$ is continuous at a point of $G$;

• The map $f$ is continuous;

• The map $f$ is uniformly continuous.

###### Proof

Suppose $f$ is continuous at $g \in G$. Since neighborhoods of a point $x$ are $x$-translates of neighborhoods of the identity $e$, continuity at $g$ means that for all neighborhoods $V$ of $e \in H$, there exists a neighborhood $U$ of $e \in G$ such that

$f(g U) \subseteq f(g) V$

Since $f$ is a homomorphism, it follows immediately from cancellation that $f(U) \subseteq V$. Therefore, for every neighborhood $V$ of $e \in H$, there exists a neighborhood $U$ of $e \in G$ such that

$x y^{-1} \in U \Rightarrow f(x) f(y)^{-1} = f(x y^{-1}) \in V$

in other words such that $x \sim_U y \Rightarrow f(x) \sim_V f(y)$. Hence $f$ is uniformly continuous with respect to the right uniformity. By similar reasoning, $f$ is uniformly continuous with respect to the right uniformity.

### Unitary representation on Hilbert spaces

###### Definition

A unitary representation $R$ of a topological group $G$ in a Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$ is a continuous group homomorphism

$R \colon G \to \mathcal{U}(\mathcal{H})$

where $\mathcal{U}(\mathcal{H})$ is the group of unitary operators on $\mathcal{H}$ with respect to the strong topology.

###### Remark

Here $\mathcal{U}(\mathcal{H})$ is a complete, metrizable topological group in the strong topology, see (Schottenloher, prop. 3.11).

###### Remark

In physics, when a classical mechanical system is symmetric, i.e. invariant in a proper sense, with respect to the action of a topological group $G$, then an unitary representation of $G$ is sometimes called a quantization of $G$. See at geometric quantization and orbit method for more on this.

#### Why the strong topology is used

The reason that in the definition of a unitary representation, the strong operator topology on $\mathcal{U}(\mathcal{H})$ is used and not the norm topology, is that only few homomorphisms turn out to be continuous in the norm topology.

Example: let $G$ be a compact Lie group and $L^2(G)$ be the Hilbert space of square integrable measurable functions with respect to its Haar measure. The right regular representation of $G$ on $L^2(G)$ is defined as

$R: G \to \mathcal{U}(L^2(G))$
$g \mapsto (R_g: f(x) \mapsto f(x g))$

and this will generally not be continuous in the norm topology, but is always continuous in the strong topology.

### Protomodularity

###### Proposition

The category TopGrp of topological groups and continuous group homomorphisms between them is a protomodular category.

A proof is spelled out by Todd Trimble here on MO.

## References

The following monograph is not particulary about group representations, but some content of this page is based on it:

• Martin Schottenloher: A mathematical introduction to conformal field theory. Springer, 2nd edition 2008 (ZMATH entry)

Revised on November 18, 2015 13:08:02 by Tyler Bryson? (69.200.232.196)