# Normal bundle

In differential geometry, a field of mathematics, a normal bundle is a particular kind of vector bundle, complementary to the tangent bundle, and coming from an embedding (or immersion).

## Definition

### Riemannian manifold

Let $(M,g)$ be a Riemannian manifold, and $S\subset M$ a Riemannian submanifold. Define, for a given $p\in S$ , a vector $n\in \mathrm {T} _{p}M$ to be normal to $S$ whenever $g(n,v)=0$ for all $v\in \mathrm {T} _{p}S$ (so that $n$ is orthogonal to $\mathrm {T} _{p}S$ ). The set $\mathrm {N} _{p}S$ of all such $n$ is then called the normal space to $S$ at $p$ .

Just as the total space of the tangent bundle to a manifold is constructed from all tangent spaces to the manifold, the total space of the normal bundle $\mathrm {N} S$ to $S$ is defined as

$\mathrm {N} S:=\coprod _{p\in S}\mathrm {N} _{p}S$ .

The conormal bundle is defined as the dual bundle to the normal bundle. It can be realised naturally as a sub-bundle of the cotangent bundle.

### General definition

More abstractly, given an immersion $i\colon N\to M$ (for instance an embedding), one can define a normal bundle of N in M, by at each point of N, taking the quotient space of the tangent space on M by the tangent space on N. For a Riemannian manifold one can identify this quotient with the orthogonal complement, but in general one cannot (such a choice is equivalent to a section of the projection $V\to V/W$ ).

Thus the normal bundle is in general a quotient of the tangent bundle of the ambient space restricted to the subspace.

Formally, the normal bundle to N in M is a quotient bundle of the tangent bundle on M: one has the short exact sequence of vector bundles on N:

$0\to TN\to TM\vert _{i(N)}\to T_{M/N}:=TM\vert _{i(N)}/TN\to 0$ where $TM\vert _{i(N)}$ is the restriction of the tangent bundle on M to N (properly, the pullback $i^{*}TM$ of the tangent bundle on M to a vector bundle on N via the map $i$ ). The fiber of the normal bundle $T_{M/N}{\overset {\pi }{\twoheadrightarrow }}N$ in $p\in N$ is referred to as the normal space at $p$ (of $N$ in $M$ ).

### Conormal bundle

If $Y\subseteq X$ is a smooth submanifold of a manifold $X$ , we can pick local coordinates $(x_{1},\dots ,x_{n})$ around $p\in Y$ such that $Y$ is locally defined by $x_{k+1}=\dots =x_{n}=0$ ; then with this choice of coordinates

{\begin{aligned}T_{p}X&=\mathbb {R} {\Big \lbrace }{\frac {\partial }{\partial x_{1}}}|_{p},\dots ,{\frac {\partial }{\partial x_{n}}}|_{p}{\Big \rbrace }\\T_{p}Y&=\mathbb {R} {\Big \lbrace }{\frac {\partial }{\partial x_{1}}}|_{p},\dots ,{\frac {\partial }{\partial x_{k}}}|_{p}{\Big \rbrace }\\{T_{X/Y}}_{p}&=\mathbb {R} {\Big \lbrace }{\frac {\partial }{\partial x_{k+1}}}|_{p},\dots ,{\frac {\partial }{\partial x_{n}}}|_{p}{\Big \rbrace }\\\end{aligned}} and the ideal sheaf is locally generated by $x_{k+1},\dots ,x_{n}$ . Therefore we can define a non-degenerate pairing

$(I_{Y}/I_{Y}^{2})_{p}\times {T_{X/Y}}_{p}\longrightarrow \mathbb {R}$ that induces an isomorphism of sheaves $T_{X/Y}\simeq (I_{Y}/I_{Y}^{2})^{\vee }$ . We can rephrase this fact by introducing the conormal bundle defined via the conormal exact sequence

$0\to T_{X/Y}^{*}\rightarrowtail \Omega _{X}^{1}|_{Y}\twoheadrightarrow \Omega ^{1}Y\to 0$ ,

then $T_{X/Y}^{*}\simeq (I_{Y}/I_{Y}^{2})$ , viz. the sections of the conormal bundle are the cotangent vectors to $X$ vanishing on $TY$ .

When $Y=\lbrace p\rbrace$ is a point, then the ideal sheaf is the sheaf of smooth germs vanishing at $p$ and the isomorphism reduces to the definition of the tangent space in terms of germs of smooth functions on $X$ $T_{X/\lbrace p\rbrace }^{*}\simeq (T_{p}X)^{\vee }\simeq {\frac {{\mathfrak {m}}_{p}}{{\mathfrak {m}}_{p}^{2}}}$ .

## Stable normal bundle

Abstract manifolds have a canonical tangent bundle, but do not have a normal bundle: only an embedding (or immersion) of a manifold in another yields a normal bundle. However, since every manifold can be embedded in $\mathbf {R} ^{N}$ , by the Whitney embedding theorem, every manifold admits a normal bundle, given such an embedding.

There is in general no natural choice of embedding, but for a given M, any two embeddings in $\mathbf {R} ^{N}$ for sufficiently large N are regular homotopic, and hence induce the same normal bundle. The resulting class of normal bundles (it is a class of bundles and not a specific bundle because N could vary) is called the stable normal bundle.

## Dual to tangent bundle

The normal bundle is dual to the tangent bundle in the sense of K-theory: by the above short exact sequence,

$[TN]+[T_{M/N}]=[TM]$ in the Grothendieck group. In case of an immersion in $\mathbf {R} ^{N}$ , the tangent bundle of the ambient space is trivial (since $\mathbf {R} ^{N}$ is contractible, hence parallelizable), so $[TN]+[T_{M/N}]=0$ , and thus $[T_{M/N}]=-[TN]$ .

This is useful in the computation of characteristic classes, and allows one to prove lower bounds on immersibility and embeddability of manifolds in Euclidean space.

## For symplectic manifolds

Suppose a manifold $X$ is embedded in to a symplectic manifold $(M,\omega )$ , such that the pullback of the symplectic form has constant rank on $X$ . Then one can define the symplectic normal bundle to X as the vector bundle over X with fibres

$(T_{i(x)}X)^{\omega }/(T_{i(x)}X\cap (T_{i(x)}X)^{\omega }),\quad x\in X,$ where $i:X\rightarrow M$ denotes the embedding. Notice that the constant rank condition ensures that these normal spaces fit together to form a bundle. Furthermore, any fibre inherits the structure of a symplectic vector space.

By Darboux's theorem, the constant rank embedding is locally determined by $i^{*}(TM)$ . The isomorphism

$i^{*}(TM)\cong TX/\nu \oplus (TX)^{\omega }/\nu \oplus (\nu \oplus \nu ^{*}),\quad \nu =TX\cap (TX)^{\omega },$ of symplectic vector bundles over $X$ implies that the symplectic normal bundle already determines the constant rank embedding locally. This feature is similar to the Riemannian case.