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Why we solve commutator equations

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AX XB = C

Salah Mecheri1

Abstract

motivated some recent reseach in pure Mathematics in matrix and

operator theory. The mathematical key is that of a commutator

or a generalized commutator, that is, find an operator X B(H)

satisfying the operator equation AX XB = C. By this we will

show how and why to solve the operator equation AX XB = C.

Some problems are studied and some open questions are also given.

1 Introduction

Let B(H) be the algebra of all bounded linear operators on a separable

infinite dimensional complex Hilbert space H. This work studies how certain

problems in quantum theory have motivated some recent reseach in pure

Mathematics in matrix and operator theory. The mathematical key is that

of a commutator. Given A, B B(H). The operator C is said to be a

commutator, if there exists an operator X B(H) such that AX XA = C.

In general, if there exists an operator X B(H) such that AX XB =

C, then C is said to be a generalized commutator. The first important

contribution to the study of commutators is due to A. Wintner who in 1947

Key words: Operators equation, Commutator, Putnam-Fugledes theorem.

2000 Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary 47A30, 47B47; Secondary

47A15, 47A63

This work was supported by the research center project No. Math/2007/10

1

College of Science, Department of Mathematics, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi

Arabia. e-mail: mecherisalah@hotmail.com

1

2 Why to solve the operator equation AX XB = C

proved that the identity operator I is not a commutator, that is, there are

no element X such that

I = AX XA (1.1)

(to see this, just take the trace of both sides of (1.1)). Nor can (1.1) hold

for bounded linear operators A and X : two nice proofs of this are due to

Wielandt and A. Wintner[17]. Like much good mathematicians, Wintners

theorem has its roots in physics. Indeed, it was prompted by the fact that

the unbounded linear maps P and Q representing the quantum-mechanical

momentum and position, respectively, satisfy the commutation relation

ih

P Q QP = ( )I,

2

where h is the Plancks constant and I is the identity operator. Actu-

ally one of the preocupations is the structure of a commutator and a non-

commutator. For this it is very intersting to solve the operator equation

AX XB = C. In [14] W.E. Roth has shown for finite matrices A and B

over a field that AX XB = C is solvable for X if and only if the matrices

" # " #

A 0 A B

and

0 B 0 C

are similar. A considerably briefer proof has been given by Flanders and

Wimmer [4]. In [13] Rosenblum showed that the result remains true when A

and B are bounded selfadjoint operators in B(H). In this note we will gen-

eralize these results for the case where A is normal and (A, B) (resp(B, A))

satisfies (F P )B(H) (the Fuglede-Putnam property). Some open questions

are also given.

Let A, B B(H). We say that the pair (A, B) satisfies (F P )B(H) , if

AC = CB where C B(H) implies A C = CB .

2 Main results

In the following we will denote the spectrum, and the approximate spectrum

of an operator A B(H) by (A), and a (A) respectively.

" #

Q R

S T

S. Mecheri 3

S S + Q Q

is invertible on H.

Proof. Since

S S + Q Q

is a positive operator,

(S S + Q Q) = a (S S + Q Q).

(xn )n H such that

Consequently,

" #
2 *" # " # +

Q R
Q R Q R

lim
(xn 0)
= lim (xn 0), (xn 0)

n
S T
n S T S T

n

B(H). If the pair (A, N ) (resp. (N, A) has the property (F P )B(H) , then the

equations

N X XA = C( respect. AX XN = C)

have a solution X if and only if

" # " #

N 0 N C

and

0 A 0 A

" # " #

N 0 N C

(resp. and )

0 A 0 A

4 Why to solve the operator equation AX XB = C

N X XA = C

" #" #" # " # " #

I X N 0 I X N N X XA N C

= = .

0 I 0 A 0 I 0 A 0 A

N 0 N C

and

0 A 0 A

are similar.

Conversely, if " # " #

N 0 N C

and

0 A 0 A

are similar, then there exists an invertible matrix operator

" #

Q R

S T

" #" # " #" #

N 0 Q R Q R N C

= .

0 A S T S T 0 A

Hence

AS = S N and N Q = Q N.

Therefore

N S S = S SN,

that is, N commutes with S S and T T. Furthermore we have

= (N Q R + N S T ) (Q RA + S T A)

S. Mecheri 5

= N (Q R + S T ) (Q R + S T )A.

By Lemma 2.1 the operator

S S + Q Q

is invertible and commute with N . Hence

N X XA = C,

X = (S S + Q Q)1 (Q R + S T ).

If the pair (N, A) satisfies the (F P )B(H) property, then the equation

AX XN = C

has a solution X given by

X = (QS + RT )(SS + T T )1 .

2

Corollary 2.1 Let N, A be two operators in B(H) with A normal. If the

pair (A, N ) (resp. (N, A)) has the (F P )B(H) property, then

(" # " # )

N 0 N C

R(A,N ) = and are similar

0 A 0 A

respectively

(" # " # )

A 0 A C

R(N,A ) = and are similar ,

0 N 0 N

where A,B is the generalized derivation defined on B(H) by

A,B (X) = AX XB

.

ing the (F P )B(H) property. Then the following assertions are equivalent:

(i) (R, S) I if R and S are unitary equivalent to A and B respectively.

(ii) (B , A ) I .

(iii) (A1 , B 1 ) I if A and B are invertible.

(iv) (A, B) I for all C I.

(v) (I + A, I + B) I for all C I.

6 Why to solve the operator equation AX XB = C

respectively. Then there exist two unitary operators U and V such that

R = U AU and S = V BV .

If

RX = XS, f or X B(H)

then

AU XV = U XV B.

Now since (A, B) B(H) , it results that U XV B(H). Therefore

A U XV = U XV B .

By this we obtain

U A U X = XV B V ,

from where

R X = XS .

Which proves that (R, S) I .

(ii) If B X = XA for X B(H), then AX = X B and since X

B(H),

A X = X B ,

that is, XA = BX.

(iii) If

A1 X = XB 1 , f or X B(H)

Then

A(A1 X)B = A(XB 1 )B,

that is, AX = XB and so, A X = XB . Hence

(A )1 A X(B )1 = (A )1 XB (B )1 ,

therefore (A )1 X = X(B )1 .

(iv) If

(A)X = X(B), f or X B(H),

then AX = XB and hence

A X = XB .

S. Mecheri 7

Consequently

A X = XB .

(v ) if

(A + I)X = X(B + I),

then AX = XB. Therefore

A X = XB

and hence

(A + I) X = X(B + I) .

2

The (F P )B(H) property hypothesis can be weakned as in the following

corollary.

for which N X XA = C (resp. AX - XN =C) have solutions X . Assume

that (A, N ) I (resp. (N, A) I ) then

(i) (R, S) I (resp. (S, R) I ) if R and S (resp. S and R are

unitary equivalent to A and N (resp. to N and A).

(ii) (N , A ) I (resp. (A , N ) I )

(iii) (A1 , N 1 ) I (resp. (A1 , N 1 ) I ) if A and N are invert-

ible.

(iv) (A, N ) I for all C I (resp. (N, A) I for all C I ).

(v) (I + A, I + N ) I for all C I (resp.(I + A, I + N ) I

for all CI) .

self commutator of A), and consider the following standard definitions: A is

hyponormal if if [A , A] is nonnegative, normal if A A = AA , subnormal if

it admits a normal extension. An operator A B(H) is called dominant by

J.G.Stampfli and B.L.Wadhwa [15] [6] if, for all complex , range(A )

range(A ) , or equivalently, if there is a real number M 1 such

that k(A ) f k M k(A )f k , for all f H. If there exists a real

number M such that M M for all , the dominant operator A is said

to be M -hyponormal. A 1-hyponormal is hyponormal. An operator A is

said to be p-hyponormal if (for some 0 < p 1 (A A)2p (AA )2p , k-

quasihyponormal if Ak (A A AA )Ak (k IN ). If k = 1, A is said to be

quasi-hyponormal.

8 Why to solve the operator equation AX XB = C

of normal, subnormal, hyponormal, p-hyponormal operators , dominant ,

quasi-hyponormal and k-quasihyponormal operators. Then

and

(N ) (SN ) (H) (p H)

B(H). If the pair (A, N ) (resp. (N, A) has the property (F P )B(H) , then the

equations

N X XA = C( respect. AX XN = C)

have a solution X if and only if

" # " #

N 0 N C

and

0 A 0 A

" # " #

N 0 N C

(resp. and )

0 A 0 A

(i) A dominant.

(ii) A p-hyponormal.

(ii) A k- quasihyponormal.

Proof. It is well known [15], [3] that the pair (N, A) (resp.(A, N ) has

the (F P )B(H) property under either of the above cases. 2

S. Mecheri 9

3 Some Problems

The operator A B(H) is said to be finite [16] if ||I (AX XA)|| 1

(*) for all X B(H), where I is the identity operator. The well-known

inequality (*), due to [16] is the starting point of the topic of commutator

approximation (a Topic which has its roots in quantum theory [17]). This

topic deals with minimizing the distance, measured by some norm or other,

between a varying commutator (or self-commutator XX X X) and some

fixed operator [1, 6, 8]

we begin by the definition of the best approximant of an operator. Let

E be a normed space and M a supspace of E. If to each A E there exists

an operator B M for which

kA Bk kA Ck f or all C M.

approach the concept of an approximant consider a set of mathematical

objects(complex numbers, matrices or linear operator, say) each of which

is, in some sense, nice, i.e. has some nice property P (being real or self-

adjoint, say): and let A be some given, not nice, mathematical object: then

a P best approximants of A is a nice mathematical object that is nearest

to A. Equivalently, a best approximant minimizes the distance between

the set of nice mathematical objects and the given, not nice object.

Of course, the terms mathematical object, nice, nearest, vary

from context to context. For a concrete example, let the set of mathematical

objects be the complex numbers, let nice=real and let the distance be

measured by the modulus, then the real approximant of the complex number

z is the real part of it, Rez = (z+z)

2

. Thus for all real x

|z Rez| |z x|.

3.1 Problem I

The related topic of approximation by commutators AX-XA or by gen-

eralized commutator AX-XB, which has attracted much interest, has its

roots in quantum theory. The Heinsnberg Uncertainly principle may be

mathematically formulated as saying that there exists a pair A, X of linear

transformations and a non-zero scalar for which

AX XA = I (3.1)

10 Why to solve the operator equation AX XB = C

Clearly, (3.1) cannot hold for square matrices A and X and for bounded

linear operators A and X. This prompts the question:

how close can AX XA be the identity?

Williams [16] proved that if A is normal, then, for all X in B(H),

are normal, then for all X B(H)

is normal and commutes with B then, for all X B(H)

Maher [6] obtained the Cp variants of Andersons result. Mecheri [8] studied

approximation by generalized commutators AX-XC: he showed that the

following inequality holds

In the above inequalities (3.2),(3.3), (3.4) and (3.5) the zero commutator

is a commutator approximant in Cp of B.

3.2 Problem II

Let A be the operator defined on B(H) by A (X) = AX XA. It is

known that I is not commutator,i.e. I 6 R(A ). Anderson [1] proved that

there exists A B(H) such that I R(A ), that is, the distance from I to

AX XA is minimal, i.e., equal to zero. For more details see Mecheri[7]

In [8] We constructed a pair (A, X) of elements in B(H) such that

Open question: Does dist(I, R(A )) = r (0, 1) implies for all invertible

S that dist(I, R(SAS 1 )) = r (0, 1)

S. Mecheri 11

Let

JA (H) = {A B(H) : I R(A )}.

Here is a problem that might of interest. Recall [5] if T : X Y define

where X, Y are Banach spaces. differing from the usual closure in that its

points have to be the limits of images of bounded sequences of vectors so:

Question. For which operators A on Hilbert space H do we have

I R(A ) ?

References

[1] J.H.Anderson , C.Foias, Properties which normal operator share with

normal derivation and related operators, Pacific J. Math., 61(1976)

313-325.

orthogonality. Aust. J. Math. Anal. Appl.1 (2004), no. 1, Art. 12, 5 pp.

(electronic).

Wuhan., 5(1985), 23-32.

and AX Y B = C, SIAMJ.Appl.Math., 32(1977), 707-710.

operator. Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 125 (1997), no. 8, 23132318.

115(1992), 995-1000.

366

sis und ihre Anwendungen., 23 (2004), no. 2, 303-311.

12 Why to solve the operator equation AX XB = C

Math.Nachr, to appear

(2000)., no. 2, 119-126.

Anal. App., 287(2003) 51-60.

J., 23(1956), 263-269).

adjoint A, B, Proc.Amer.Math.Soc., 20(1969), 115-120.

Proc.Amer.Math.Soc., 3(1952), 392-316.

orem for dominant operators, Indiana Univ.Math.J.25(1976)., 359-365.

26(1970).

mechanik. (German) Math. Ann. 121, (1949),21.

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