Schröder–Bernstein theorems for operator algebras


Schröder–Bernstein theorems for operator algebras

The Schröder–Bernstein theorem, from set theory, has analogs in the context operator algebras. This article discusses such operator-algebraic results.

For von Neumann algebras

Suppose M is a von Neumann algebra and "E", "F" are projections in M. Let ~ denote the Murray-von Neumann equivalence relation on M. Define a partial order « on the family of projections by "E" « "F" if "E" ~ "F' " ≤ "F". In other words, "E" « "F" if there exists a partial isometry "U" ∈ M such that "U*U" = "E" and "UU*" ≤ "F".

For closed subspaces "M" and "N" where projections "PM" and "PN", onto "M" and "N" respectively, are elements of M, "M" « "N" if "PM" « "PN".

The Schröder–Bernstein theorem states that if "M" « "N" and "N" « "M", then "M" ~ "N".

A proof, one that is similar to a set-theoretic argument, can be sketched as follows. Colloquially, "N" « "M" means that "N" can be isometrically embedded in "M". So

:M = M_0 supset N_0

where "N"0 is an isometric copy of "N" in "M". By assumption, it is also true that, "N", therefore "N"0, contains an isometric copy "M"1 of "M". Therefore one can write

:M = M_0 supset N_0 supset M_1.

By induction,

:M = M_0 supset N_0 supset M_1 supset N_1 supset M_2 supset N_2 supset cdots .

It is clear that

:R = cap_{i geq 0} M_i = cap_{i geq 0} N_i.

Let

:M ominus N stackrel{mathrm{def{=} M cap (N)^{perp}.

So

:M = oplus_{i geq 0} ( M_i ominus N_i ) quad oplus quad oplus_{j geq 0} ( N_j ominus M_{j+1}) quad oplus R

and

:N_0 = oplus_{i geq 1} ( M_i ominus N_i ) quad oplus quad oplus_{j geq 0} ( N_j ominus M_{j+1}) quad oplus R.

Notice

:M_i ominus N_i sim M ominus N quad mbox{for all} quad i.

The theorem now follows from the countable additivity of ~.

Representations of C*-algebras

There is also an analog of Schröder–Bernstein for representations of C*-algebras. If "A" is a C*-algebra, a representation of "A" is a *-homomorphism "φ" from "A" into "L"("H"), the bounded operators on some Hilbert space "H".

If there exists a projection "P" in "L"("H") where "P" "φ"("a") = "φ"("a") "P" for every "a" in "A", then a subrepresentation "σ" of "φ" can be defined in a natural way: "σ"("a") is "φ"("a") restricted to the range of "P". So "φ" then can be expressed as a direct sum of two subrepresentations "φ" = "φ' " ⊕ "σ".

Two representations "φ"1 and "φ"2, on "H"1 and "H"2 respectively, are said to be unitarily equivalent if there exists an unitary operator "U": "H"2 → "H"1 such that "φ"1("a")"U" = "Uφ"2("a"), for every "a".

In this setting, the Schröder–Bernstein theorem reads:

:If two representations "ρ" and "σ", on Hilbert spaces "H" and "G" respectively, are each unitarily equivalent to a subrepresentation of the other, then they are unitarily equivalent.

A proof that resembles the previous argument can be outlined. The assumption implies that there exist surjective partial isometries from "H" to "G" and from "G" to "H". Fix two such partial isometries for the argument. One has

: ho = ho_1 simeq ho_1 ' oplus sigma_1 quad mbox{where} quad sigma_1 simeq sigma.

In turn,

: ho_1 simeq ho_1 ' oplus (sigma_1 ' oplus ho_2) quad mbox{where} quad ho_2 simeq ho .

By induction,

: ho_1 simeq ho_1 ' oplus sigma_1 ' oplus ho_2' oplus sigma_2 ' cdots simeq ( oplus_{i geq 1} ho_i ' ) oplus ( oplus_{i geq 1} sigma_i '),

and

:sigma_1 simeq sigma_1 ' oplus ho_2' oplus sigma_2 ' cdots simeq ( oplus_{i geq 2} ho_i ' ) oplus ( oplus_{i geq 1} sigma_i ').

Now each additional summand in the direct sum expression is obtained using one of the two fixed partial isometries, so

: ho_i ' simeq ho_j ' quad mbox{and} quad sigma_i ' simeq sigma_j ' quad mbox{for all} quad i,j ;.

This proves the theorem.

References

*B. Blackadar, "Operator Algebras", Springer, 2006.


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