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Euclideanplaneisometry
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Ingeometry,aEuclideanplaneisometryisanisometryoftheEuclideanplane,ormoreinformally,awayof
transformingtheplanethatpreservesgeometricalpropertiessuchaslength.Therearefourtypes:translations,
rotations,reflections,andglidereflections(seebelowunderclassificationofEuclideanplaneisometries).
ThesetofEuclideanplaneisometriesformsagroupundercomposition:theEuclideangroupintwodimensions.It
isgeneratedbyreflectionsinlines,andeveryelementoftheEuclideangroupisthecompositeofatmostthree
distinctreflections.

Contents
1 Informaldiscussion
2 Formaldefinition
3 ClassificationofEuclideanplaneisometries
3.1 Reflections
3.2 Translations
3.3 Rotations
3.4 Glidereflections
4 Isometriesasreflectiongroup
4.1 Mirrorcombinations
4.3 Recognition
4.4 Groupstructure
4.5 Composition
4.6 Translation,rotation,andorthogonalsubgroups
4.7 Nestedgroupconstruction
4.8 Discretesubgroups
5 Isometriesinthecomplexplane
6 Seealso
7 References

Informaldiscussion
Informally,aEuclideanplaneisometryisanywayoftransformingtheplanewithout"deforming"it.Forexample,
isometriesinclude:
Shiftingthesheetoneinchtotheright.
Rotatingthesheetbytendegreesaroundsomemarkedpoint(whichremainsmotionless).
Turningthesheetovertolookatitfrombehind.Noticethatifapictureisdrawnononesideofthesheet,
thenafterturningthesheetover,weseethemirrorimageofthepicture.
Theseareexamplesoftranslations,rotations,andreflectionsrespectively.Thereisonefurthertypeofisometry,
calledaglidereflection(seebelowunderclassificationofEuclideanplaneisometries).

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However,folding,cutting,ormeltingthesheetarenotconsideredisometries.Neitherarelessdrasticalterations
likebending,stretching,ortwisting.

Formaldefinition

suchthatforanypointspandqintheplane,

whered(p,q)istheusualEuclideandistancebetweenpandq.

ClassificationofEuclideanplaneisometries
ItcanbeshownthattherearefourtypesofEuclideanplaneisometries.(Note:thenotationsforthetypesof
isometrieslistedbelowarenotcompletelystandardised.)

Reflections
Reflections,ormirrorisometries,denotedbyFc,v,wherecisapointinthe
planeandvisaunitvectorinR2.(Fisfor"flip".)havetheeffectof
reflectingthepointpinthelineLthatisperpendiculartovandthatpasses
throughc.ThelineLiscalledthereflectionaxisortheassociatedmirror.
TofindaformulaforFc,v,wefirstusethedotproducttofindthecomponent
tofpcinthevdirection,

Reflection

andthenweobtainthereflectionofpbysubtraction,
of1wehave:

whichisareflectioninthexaxisfollowedbyarotationbyanangle,orequivalently,areflectioninalinemaking

Translations
Translations,denotedbyTv,wherevisavectorinR2havetheeffectofshiftingtheplaneinthedirectionofv.
Thatis,foranypointpintheplane,

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orintermsof(x,y)coordinates,

Atranslationcanbeseenasacompositeoftwoparallelreflections.

Rotations

Translation

Rotations,denotedbyRc,,wherecisapointintheplane(thecentreof
rotation),andistheangleofrotation.Intermsofcoordinates,rotationsare
mosteasilyexpressedbybreakingthemupintotwooperations.First,a
rotationaroundtheoriginisgivenby

Rotation

Thesematricesaretheorthogonalmatrices(i.e.eachisasquarematrix
Gwhosetransposeisitsinverse,i.e.
),with
determinant1(theotherpossibilityfororthogonalmatricesis1,whichgivesamirrorimage,seebelow).
TheyformthespecialorthogonalgroupSO(2).
Arotationaroundccanbeaccomplishedbyfirsttranslatingctotheorigin,thenperformingtherotation
aroundtheorigin,andfinallytranslatingtheoriginbacktoc.Thatis,

orinotherwords,

Alternatively,arotationaroundtheoriginisperformed,followedbyatranslation:

Thesetoftranslationsandrotationstogetherformtherigidmotionsordisplacements.Thissetformsagroup
undercomposition,thegroupofrigidmotions,asubgroupofthefullgroupofEuclideanisometries.
Arotationcanbeseenasacompositeoftwononparallelreflections.

Glidereflections
Glidereflections,denotedbyGc,v,w,wherecisapointintheplane,visa
unitvectorinR2,andwisnonnullavectorperpendiculartovarea
combinationofareflectioninthelinedescribedbycandv,followedbya
translationalongw.Thatis,
Glidereflection

orinotherwords,
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(Itisalsotruethat

thatis,weobtainthesameresultifwedothetranslationandthereflectionintheoppositeorder.)
Alternativelywemultiplybyanorthogonalmatrixwithdeterminant1(correspondingtoareflectionina
linethroughtheorigin),followedbyatranslation.Thisisaglidereflection,exceptinthespecialcasethat
thetranslationisperpendiculartothelineofreflection,inwhichcasethecombinationisitselfjusta
reflectioninaparallelline.
Theidentityisometry,definedbyI(p)=pforallpointspisaspecialcaseofatranslation,andalsoaspecialcaseof
arotation.Itistheonlyisometrywhichbelongstomorethanoneofthetypesdescribedabove.
havearotation,atranslation,ortheidentity,andifitis1wehaveaglidereflectionorareflection.
A"random"isometry,liketakingasheetofpaperfromatableandrandomlylayingitback,"almostsurely"isa
rotationoraglidereflection(theyhavethreedegreesoffreedom).Thisappliesregardlessofthedetailsofthe
arespecialcaseswithonlytwodegreesoffreedom,whiletheidentityisevenmorespecial,withnodegreesof
freedom.

Isometriesasreflectiongroup
Reflections,ormirrorisometries,canbecombinedtoproduceanyisometry.Thusisometriesareanexampleofa
reflectiongroup.

Mirrorcombinations
IntheEuclideanplane,wehavethefollowingpossibilities.
[d]Identity
Tworeflectionsinthesamemirrorrestoreeachpointto
itsoriginalposition.Allpointsareleftfixed.Anypair
ofidenticalmirrorshasthesameeffect.
[db]Reflection
AsAlicefoundthroughthelookingglass,asingle
mirrorcausesleftandrighthandstoswitch.(Informal
terms,topologicalorientationisreversed.)Pointson
themirrorareleftfixed.Eachmirrorhasaunique
effect.
[dp]Rotation
Twodistinctintersectingmirrorshaveasinglepointincommon,whichremainsfixed.Allotherpointsrotate
arounditbytwicetheanglebetweenthemirrors.Anytwomirrorswiththesamefixedpointandsameangle
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givethesamerotation,solongastheyareusedinthecorrectorder.
[dd]Translation
Twodistinctmirrorsthatdonotintersectmustbeparallel.Everypointmovesthesameamount,twicethe
distancebetweenthemirrors,andinthesamedirection.Nopointsareleftfixed.Anytwomirrorswiththe
sameparalleldirectionandthesamedistanceapartgivethesametranslation,solongastheyareusedinthe
correctorder.
[dq]Glidereflection
Threemirrors.Iftheyareallparallel,theeffectisthesameasasinglemirror(slideapairtocancelthe
third).Otherwisewecanfindanequivalentarrangementwheretwoareparallelandthethirdis
perpendiculartothem.Theeffectisareflectioncombinedwithatranslationparalleltothemirror.Nopoints
areleftfixed.

causecancellation.
Proof.Anisometryiscompletelydeterminedbyitseffectonthreeindependent(notcollinear)points.So
supposep1,p2,p3maptoq1,q2,q3wecangenerateasequenceofmirrorstoachievethisasfollows.Ifp1
andq1aredistinct,choosetheirperpendicularbisectorasmirror.Nowp1mapstoq1andwewillpassall
furthermirrorsthroughq1,leavingitfixed.Calltheimagesofp2andp3underthisreflectionp2andp3.Ifq2
isdistinctfromp2,bisecttheangleatq1withanewmirror.Withp1andp2nowinplace,p3isatp3andif
itisnotinplace,afinalmirrorthroughq1andq2willflipittoq3.Thusatmostthreereflectionssufficeto
reproduceanyplaneisometry.

Recognition
Wecanrecognizewhichoftheseisometrieswehaveaccordingtowhetheritpreserveshandsorswapsthem,and
whetherithasatleastonefixedpointornot,asshowninthefollowingtable(omittingtheidentity).
Preserveshands?

Fixedpoint?

Yes

Yes

No

Rotation

Reflection

No Translation Glidereflection

Groupstructure
Isometriesrequiringanoddnumberofmirrorsreflectionandglidereflectionalwaysreverseleftandright.
Theevenisometriesidentity,rotation,andtranslationneverdotheycorrespondtorigidmotions,andforma
normalsubgroupofthefullEuclideangroupofisometries.Neitherthefullgroupnortheevensubgroupare
abelianforexample,reversingtheorderofcompositionoftwoparallelmirrorsreversesthedirectionofthe
translationtheyproduce.
Proof.Theidentityisanisometrynothingchanges,sodistancecannotchange.Andifoneisometrycannot
changedistance,neithercantwo(orthree,ormore)insuccessionthusthecompositionoftwoisometriesis
againanisometry,andthesetofisometriesisclosedundercomposition.Theidentityisometryisalsoan
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identityforcomposition,andcompositionisassociativethereforeisometriessatisfytheaxiomsfora
semigroup.Foragroup,wemustalsohaveaninverseforeveryelement.Tocancelareflection,wemerely
composeitwithitself.(Reflectionsareinvolutions.)Andsinceeveryisometrycanbeexpressedasa
sequenceofreflections,itsinversecanbeexpressedasthatsequencereversed.Noticethatthecancellation
ofapairofidenticalreflectionsreducesthenumberofreflectionsbyanevennumber,preservingtheparity
ofthesequencealsonoticethattheidentityhasevenparity.Thereforeallisometriesformagroup,andeven
isometriesasubgroup.(Oddisometriesdonotincludetheidentity,soarenotasubgroup.)Thissubgroupisa
normalsubgroup,becausesandwichinganevenisometrybetweentwooddonesyieldsanevenisometry.
Sincetheevensubgroupisnormal,itisthekernelofahomomorphismtoaquotientgroup,wherethequotientis
onlyasemidirectproduct,oftheevensubgroupandthequotientgroup.

Composition
Compositionofisometriesmixeskindsinassortedways.Wecanthinkoftheidentityaseithertwomirrorsor
noneeitherway,ithasnoeffectincomposition.Andtworeflectionsgiveeitheratranslationorarotation,orthe
identity(whichisboth,inatrivialway).Reflectioncomposedwitheitherofthesecouldcanceldowntoasingle
reflectionotherwiseitgivestheonlyavailablethreemirrorisometry,aglidereflection.Apairoftranslations
alwaysreducestoasingletranslationsothechallengingcasesinvolverotations.Weknowarotationcomposed
witheitherarotationoratranslationmustproduceanevenisometry.Compositionwithtranslationproduces
anotherrotation(bythesameamount,withshiftedfixedpoint),butcompositionwithrotationcanyieldeither
translationorrotation.Itisoftensaidthatcompositionoftworotationsproducesarotation,andEulerproveda
theoremtothateffectin3Dhowever,thisisonlytrueforrotationssharingafixedpoint.

Translation,rotation,andorthogonalsubgroups
Wethushavetwonewkindsofisometrysubgroups:alltranslations,androtationssharingafixedpoint.Bothare
subgroupsoftheevensubgroup,withinwhichtranslationsarenormal.Becausetranslationsareanormalsubgroup,
wecanfactorthemoutleavingthesubgroupofisometrieswithafixedpoint,theorthogonalgroup.
Proof.Iftworotationsshareafixedpoint,
thenwecanswivelthemirrorpairofthe
secondrotationtocanceltheinnermirrors
ofthesequenceoffour(twoandtwo),
leavingjusttheouterpair.Thusthe
compositionoftworotationswitha
commonfixedpointproducesarotationby
point.
Iftwotranslationsareparallel,wecan
slidethemirrorpairofthesecond
translationtocanceltheinnermirrorofthe
sequenceoffour,muchasintherotation
case.Thusthecompositionoftwoparallel
translationsproducesatranslationbythe
sumofthedistancesinthesamedirection.
Nowsupposethetranslationsarenot
parallel,andthatthemirrorsequenceis
A1,A2(thefirsttranslation)followedbyB1,B2(thesecond).ThenA2andB1mustcross,sayatcand,
reassociating,wearefreetopivotthisinnerpairaroundc.Ifwepivot90,aninterestingthinghappens:now
A1andA2intersectata90angle,sayatp,andsodoB1andB2,sayatq.Againreassociating,wepivotthe
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firstpairaroundptomakeB2passthroughq,andpivotthesecondpairaroundqtomakeA1passthrough
p.Theinnermirrorsnowcoincideandcancel,andtheoutermirrorsareleftparallel.Thusthecompositionof
twononparalleltranslationsalsoproducesatranslation.Also,thethreepivotpointsformatrianglewhose

Nestedgroupconstruction
Thesubgroupstructuresuggestsanotherwaytocomposeanarbitraryisometry:
Pickafixedpoint,andamirrorthroughit.
1.Iftheisometryisodd,usethemirrorotherwisedonot.
2.Ifnecessary,rotatearoundthefixedpoint.
3.Ifnecessary,translate.
Thisworksbecausetranslationsareanormalsubgroupofthefullgroupofisometries,withquotienttheorthogonal
reflection.

Discretesubgroups
Thesubgroupsdiscussedsofararenotonlyinfinite,theyarealsocontinuous(Lie
groups).Anysubgroupcontainingatleastonenonzerotranslationmustbeinfinite,but
subgroupsoftheorthogonalgroupcanbefinite.Forexample,thesymmetriesofaregular
pentagonconsistofrotationsbyintegermultiplesof72(360/5),alongwithreflections
inthefivemirrorswhichperpendicularlybisecttheedges.Thisisagroup,D5,with10
elements.Ithasasubgroup,C5,ofhalfthesize,omittingthereflections.Thesetwo
groupsaremembersoftwofamilies,DnandCn,foranyn>1.Together,thesefamilies
constitutetherosettegroups.
Translationsdonotfoldbackonthemselves,butwecantakeintegermultiplesofanyfinitetranslation,orsumsof
multiplesoftwosuchindependenttranslations,asasubgroup.Thesegeneratethelatticeofaperiodictilingofthe
plane.
Wecanalsocombinethesetwokindsofdiscretegroupsthediscreterotationsandreflectionsaroundafixed
pointandthediscretetranslationstogeneratethefriezegroupsandwallpapergroups.Curiously,onlyafewof
thefixedpointgroupsarefoundtobecompatiblewithdiscretetranslations.Infact,latticecompatibilityimposes
suchasevererestrictionthat,uptoisomorphism,wehaveonly7distinctfriezegroupsand17distinctwallpaper
higherdimensionalsohasonlyafinitenumberofsuchcrystallographicgroups,butthenumbergrowsrapidlyfor
example,3Dhas320groupsand4Dhas4783.)

Isometriesinthecomplexplane
Intermsofcomplexnumbers,theisometriesoftheplaneareeitheroftheform

oroftheform
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forsomecomplexnumbersaandwith||=1.Thisiseasytoprove:ifa=f(0)and=f(1)f(0)andifone
defines

thengisanisometry,g(0)=0,andg(1)=1.Itistheneasytoseethatgiseithertheidentityortheconjugation,
andthestatementbeingprovedfollowsfromthisandfromthefactthatf(z)=a+g(z).
Thisisobviouslyrelatedtothepreviousclassificationofplaneisometries,since:
functionsofthetypeza+zaretranslations
functionsofthetypezzarerotations(when||=1)
theconjugationisareflection.

wherethelastexpressionshowsthemappingequivalenttorotationat0andatranslation.Therefore,givendirect
isometry
onecansolve
toobtain
asthecenterforanequivalent
rotation,providedthat
,thatis,providedthedirectisometryisnotapuretranslation.AsstatedbyCederberg

Seealso
BeckmanQuarlestheorem,acharacterizationofisometriesasthetransformationsthatpreserveunit
distances
Congruence(geometry)
Coordinaterotationsandreflections
Hjelmslev'stheorem,thestatementthatthemidpointsofcorrespondingpairsofpointsinanisometryof
linesarecollinear

References
Cederberg,JudithN.(2001).ACourseinModernGeometries.pp.136164.ISBN9780387989723.

PlaneIsometries(http://www.cuttheknot.org/pythagoras/Transforms/index.shtml)
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