# Fredholm operator

In mathematics, Fredholm operators are certain operators that arise in the Fredholm theory of integral equations. They are named in honour of Erik Ivar Fredholm. By definition, a Fredholm operator is a bounded linear operator T : X → Y between two Banach spaces with finite-dimensional kernel $\ker T$ and finite-dimensional (algebraic) cokernel $\mathrm {coker} \,T=Y/\mathrm {ran} \,T$ , and with closed range $\mathrm {ran} \,T$ . The last condition is actually redundant.

The index of a Fredholm operator is the integer

$\mathrm {ind} \,T:=\dim \ker T-\mathrm {codim} \,\mathrm {ran} \,T$ or in other words,

$\mathrm {ind} \,T:=\dim \ker T-\mathrm {dim} \,\mathrm {coker} \,T.$ ## Properties

Intuitively, Fredholm operators are those operators that are invertible "if finite-dimensional effects are ignored." The formally correct statement follows. A bounded operator T : X → Y between Banach spaces X and Y is Fredholm if and only if it is invertible modulo compact operators, i.e., if there exists a bounded linear operator

$S:Y\to X$ such that

$\mathrm {Id} _{X}-ST\quad {\text{and}}\quad \mathrm {Id} _{Y}-TS$ are compact operators on X and Y respectively.

If a Fredholm operator is modified slightly, it stays Fredholm and its index remains the same. Formally: The set of Fredholm operators from X to Y is open in the Banach space L(XY) of bounded linear operators, equipped with the operator norm, and the index is locally constant. More precisely, if T0 is Fredholm from X to Y, there exists ε > 0 such that every T in L(XY) with ||TT0|| < ε is Fredholm, with the same index as that of T0.

When T is Fredholm from X to Y and U Fredholm from Y to Z, then the composition $U\circ T$ is Fredholm from X to Z and

$\mathrm {ind} (U\circ T)=\mathrm {ind} (U)+\mathrm {ind} (T).$ When T is Fredholm, the transpose (or adjoint) operator T ′ is Fredholm from Y ′ to X ′, and ind(T ′) = −ind(T). When X and Y are Hilbert spaces, the same conclusion holds for the Hermitian adjoint T.

When T is Fredholm and K a compact operator, then T + K is Fredholm. The index of T remains unchanged under such a compact perturbations of T. This follows from the fact that the index i(s) of T + sK is an integer defined for every s in [0, 1], and i(s) is locally constant, hence i(1) = i(0).

Invariance by perturbation is true for larger classes than the class of compact operators. For example, when U is Fredholm and T a strictly singular operator, then T + U is Fredholm with the same index. The class of inessential operators, which properly contains the class of strictly singular operators, is the "perturbation class" for Fredholm operators. This means an operator $T\in B(X,Y)$ is inessential if and only if T+U is Fredholm for every Fredholm operator $U\in B(X,Y)$ .

## Examples

Let $H$ be a Hilbert space with an orthonormal basis $\{e_{n}\}$ indexed by the non negative integers. The (right) shift operator S on H is defined by

$S(e_{n})=e_{n+1},\quad n\geq 0.\,$ This operator S is injective (actually, isometric) and has a closed range of codimension 1, hence S is Fredholm with $\mathrm {ind} (S)=-1$ . The powers $S^{k}$ , $k\geq 0$ , are Fredholm with index $-k$ . The adjoint S* is the left shift,

$S^{*}(e_{0})=0,\ \ S^{*}(e_{n})=e_{n-1},\quad n\geq 1.\,$ The left shift S* is Fredholm with index 1.

If H is the classical Hardy space $H^{2}(\mathbf {T} )$ on the unit circle T in the complex plane, then the shift operator with respect to the orthonormal basis of complex exponentials

$e_{n}:\mathrm {e} ^{\mathrm {i} t}\in \mathbf {T} \rightarrow \mathrm {e} ^{\mathrm {i} nt},\quad n\geq 0,\,$ is the multiplication operator Mφ with the function $\varphi =e_{1}$ . More generally, let φ be a complex continuous function on T that does not vanish on $\mathbf {T}$ , and let Tφ denote the Toeplitz operator with symbol φ, equal to multiplication by φ followed by the orthogonal projection $P:L^{2}(\mathbf {T} )\to H^{2}(\mathbf {T} )$ :

$T_{\varphi }:f\in H^{2}(\mathrm {T} )\rightarrow P(f\varphi )\in H^{2}(\mathrm {T} ).\,$ Then Tφ is a Fredholm operator on $H^{2}(\mathbf {T} )$ , with index related to the winding number around 0 of the closed path $t\in [0,2\pi ]\mapsto \varphi (e^{it})$ : the index of Tφ, as defined in this article, is the opposite of this winding number.

## Applications

Any elliptic operator can be extended to a Fredholm operator. The use of Fredholm operators in partial differential equations is an abstract form of the parametrix method.

The Atiyah-Singer index theorem gives a topological characterization of the index of certain operators on manifolds.

The Atiyah-Jänich theorem identifies the K-theory K(X) of a compact topological space X with the set of homotopy classes of continuous maps from X to the space of Fredholm operators HH, where H is the separable Hilbert space and the set of these operators carries the operator norm.

## Generalizations

### B-Fredholm operators

For each integer $n$ , define $T_{n}$ to be the restriction of $T$ to $R(T^{n})$ viewed as a map from $R(T^{n})$ into $R(T^{n})$ ( in particular $T_{0}=T$ ). If for some integer $n$ the space $R(T^{n})$ is closed and $T_{n}$ is a Fredholm operator, then $T$ is called a B-Fredholm operator. The index of a B-Fredholm operator $T$ is defined as the index of the Fredholm operator $T_{n}$ . It is shown that the index is independent of the integer $n$ . B-Fredholm operators were introduced by M. Berkani in 1999 as a generalization of Fredholm operators.

### Semi-Fredholm operators

A bounded linear operator T is called semi-Fredholm if its range is closed and at least one of $\ker T$ , $\mathrm {coker} \,T$ is finite-dimensional. For a semi-Fredholm operator, the index is defined by

$\mathrm {ind} \,T={\begin{cases}+\infty ,&\dim \ker T=\infty ;\\\dim \ker T-\dim \mathrm {coker} \,T,&\dim \ker T+\dim \mathrm {coker} \,T<\infty ;\\-\infty ,&\dim \mathrm {coker} \,T=\infty .\end{cases}}$ ### Unbounded operators

One may also define unbounded Fredholm operators. Let X and Y be two Banach spaces.

1. The closed linear operator $T:\,X\to Y$ is called Fredholm if its domain ${\mathfrak {D}}(T)$ is dense in $X$ , its range is closed, and both kernel and cokernel of T are finite-dimensional.
2. $T:\,X\to Y$ is called semi-Fredholm if its domain ${\mathfrak {D}}(T)$ is dense in $X$ , its range is closed, and either kernel or cokernel of T (or both) is finite-dimensional.

As it was noted above, the range of a closed operator is closed as long as the cokernel is finite-dimensional (Edmunds and Evans, Theorem I.3.2).

This page was last updated at 2022-06-17 02:55 UTC. . View original page.

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