S-modules are one version of highly structured spectra that support a symmetric monoidal smash product of spectra.
The category of S-modules (EKMM 97) is a presentation of the symmetric monoidal (∞,1)-category of spectra, with the special property that it implements the smash product of spectra such as to yield itself a symmetric monoidal model category of spectra: the model structure on symmetric spectra. This implies in particular that with respect to this symmetric smash product of spectra an E-∞ ring is presented simply as a plain commutative monoid in S-modules.
Other presentations sharing this property are symmetric spectra and orthogonal spectra.
The construction of S-modules by (EKMM 97) begins with the notion of coordinate free Lewis-May spectra. Using the linear isometries operad, one can construct a monad $\mathbb{L}$ on the category $\mathcal{S}$ of such spectra, and the category of $\mathbb{L}$-algebras is a well-behaved model for the stable homotopy category, and moreover admits a smash product which is associative up to isomorphism, but unital only up to weak equivalence. However, the subcategory of the $\mathbb{L}$-algebras for which the unit transformations are isomorphisms is again a well-behaved model for $Ho \mathbb{S}$, which is moreover symmetric monoidal.
Since the unit transformation is of the form $S\wedge E \to E$, where $S$ is the sphere spectrum, and this map looks like the action of a ring on a module, the objects of this subcategory are called $S$-modules and the category is called $Mod_S$. The intuition is that just as an abelian group is a module over the archetypical ring $\mathbb{Z}$ of integers, a spectrum should be regarded as a module over the archetypal ring spectrum, namely the sphere spectrum.
Similarly, just as an ordinary ring is a monoid in the category $Mod_\mathbb{Z}$ of $\mathbb{Z}$-modules, i.e. a $\mathbb{Z}$-algebra, an $A_\infty$ or $E_\infty$ ring spectrum is a (possibly commutative) monoid in the category of $S$-modules, and thus referred to as an $S$-algebra. More generally, for any $A_\infty$-ring spectrum $R$, there is a notion of $R$-module spectra forming a category $Mod_R$, which in turn carries an associative and commutative smash product $\wedge_R$ and a model category structure on $Mod_R$ such that $\wedge_R$ becomes unital in the homotopy category. All this is such that an $A_\infty$-algebra over $R$ is a monoid object in $(Mod_R, \wedge_R)$. Similarly $E_\infty$-algebras are commutative monoid objects in $(Mod_R, \wedge_R)$.
model structure on spectra, symmetric monoidal smash product of spectra
S-module, model structure on S-modules
The construction originates in
Review includes
Last revised on February 4, 2016 at 05:58:45. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.