Scheme-theoretic intersection

In algebraic geometry, the scheme-theoretic intersection of closed subschemes X, Y of a scheme W is , the fiber product of the closed immersions . It is denoted by .

Locally, W is given as for some ring R and X, Y as for some ideals I, J. Thus, locally, the intersection is given as

Here, we used (for this identity, see tensor product of modules#Examples.)

Example: Let be a projective variety with the homogeneous coordinate ring S/I, where S is a polynomial ring. If is a hypersurface defined by some homogeneous polynomial f in S, then

If f is linear (deg = 1), it is called a hyperplane section. See also: Bertini's theorem.

Now, a scheme-theoretic intersection may not be a correct intersection, say, from the point of view of intersection theory. For example,[1] let = the affine 4-space and X, Y closed subschemes defined by the ideals and . Since X is the union of two planes, each intersecting with Y at the origin with multiplicity one, by the linearity of intersection multiplicity, we expect X and Y intersect at the origin with multiplicity two. On the other hand, one sees the scheme-theoretic intersection consists of the origin with multiplicity three. That is, a scheme-theoretic multiplicity of an intersection may differ from an intersection-theoretic multiplicity, the latter given by Serre's Tor formula. Solving this disparity is one of the starting points for derived algebraic geometry, which aims to introduce the notion of derived intersection.

Proper intersection

Let X be a regular scheme and V, W closed integral subschemes. Then an irreducible component P of is called proper if the inequality (due to Serre):

is the equality.[2] The intersection is proper if every irreducible component of it is proper (in particular, the empty intersection is considered proper.) Two algebraic cycles are said to intersect properly if the varieties in the cycles intersect properly.

For example, two divisors (codimension-one cycles) on a smooth variety intersect properly if and only if they share no common irreducible component. Chow's moving lemma (on a smooth variety) says that an intersection can be made proper after replacing a divisor by a suitable linearly equivalent divisor (cf. Kleiman's theorem.)

Serre's inequality above may fail in general for a non-regular ambient scheme. For example,[3] let . Then have codimension one, while has codimension three.

Some authors such as Bloch define a proper intersection without assuming X is regular: in the notations as above, a component P is proper if

See also


  1. Hartshorne, Appendix A: Example 1.1.1.
  2. Fulton, § 20.4.
  3. Fulton, Example 7.1.6.
  • William Fulton. (1998), Intersection theory, Ergebnisse der Mathematik und ihrer Grenzgebiete. 3. Folge., 2 (2nd ed.), Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-62046-4, MR 1644323
  • Hartshorne, Robin (1977), Algebraic Geometry, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, 52, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-0-387-90244-9, MR 0463157

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