**CIRCLE GROUP**

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In

mathematics, the

**circle group**, denoted by

**T**, is the multiplicative

group of all

complex numbers with absolute value 1, i.e., the

unit circle in the complex plane.

The circle group forms a

subgroup of

**C**^{×}, the multiplicative group of all nonzero complex numbers. Since

**C**^{×} is

abelian, it follows that

**T** is as well. The circle group is also the group

**U(1)** of 1×1

unitary matrices; these act on the complex plane by rotation about the origin. The circle group can be parametrized by the angle θ of rotation by

This is the

exponential map for the circle group.

The circle group plays a central role in

Pontryagin duality, and in the theory of

Lie groups.

The notation

**T** for the circle group stems from the fact that

**T**^{n} (the

direct product of

**T** with itself

*n* times) is geometrically an

*n*-

torus. The circle group is then a 1-torus.

## Elementary introduction

Multiplication on the circle group is equivalent to addition of angles

One way to think about the circle group is that it describes how to add

*angles*, where only angles between 0° and 360° are permitted. For example, the diagram illustrates how to add 150° to 270°. The answer should be 150° + 270° = 420°, but when thinking in terms of the circle group, we need to "forget" the fact that we have wrapped once around the circle. Therefore we adjust our answer by 360° which gives 420° − 360° = 60°.

Another description is in terms of ordinary addition, where only numbers between 0 and 1 are allowed (with 1 corresponding to a full rotation). To achieve this, we might need to throw away digits occurring before the decimal point. For example, when we work out 0.784 + 0.925 + 0.446, the answer should be 2.155, but we throw away the leading 2, so the answer (in the circle group) is just 0.155.

## Topological and analytic structure

The circle group is more than just an abstract algebraic group. It has a natural topology when regarded as a

subspace of the complex plane. Since multiplication and inversion are

continuous functions on

**C**^{×}, the circle group has the structure of a

topological group. Moreover, since the unit circle is a

closed subset of the complex plane, the circle group is a closed subgroup of

**C**^{×} (itself regarded as a topological group).

One can say even more. The circle is a 1-dimensional real

manifold and multiplication and inversion are

real-analytic maps on the circle. This gives the circle group the structure of a

one-parameter group, an instance of a

Lie group. In fact,

up to isomorphism, it is the unique 1-dimensional

compact,

connected Lie group. Moreover, every

*n*-dimensional compact, connected, abelian Lie group is isomorphic to

**T**^{n}.

## Isomorphisms

The circle group shows up in a variety of forms in mathematics. We list some of the more common forms here. Specifically, we show that

Note that

slash denotes here

quotient group.

The set of all 1×1

unitary matrices clearly coincides with the circle group; the unitary condition is equivalent to the condition that its element have absolute value 1. Therefore, the circle group is canonically isomorphic to U(1), the first

unitary group.

The

exponential function gives rise to a

group homomorphism exp :

**R** →

**T** from the additive real numbers

**R** to the circle group

**T** via the map

The last equality is

Euler's formula. The real number θ corresponds to the angle on the unit circle as measured from the positive

*x*-axis. That this map is a homomorphism follows from the fact the multiplication of unit complex numbers corresponds to addition of angles:

This exponential map is clearly a

surjective function from

**R** to

**T**. It is not, however,

injective. The

kernel of this map is the set of all

integer multiples of 2π. By the

first isomorphism theorem we then have that

After rescaling we can also say that

**T** is isomorphic to

**R**/

**Z**.

If complex numbers are realized as 2×2 real

matrices (see

complex number), the unit complex numbers correspond to 2×2

orthogonal matrices with unit

determinant. Specifically, we have

The circle group is therefore isomorphic to the

special orthogonal group SO(2). This has the geometric interpretation that multiplication by a unit complex number is a proper rotation in the complex plane, and every such rotation is of this form.

## Properties

Any compact Lie group

*G* of dimension > 0 has a

subgroup isomorphic to the circle group. That means that, thinking in terms of

symmetry, a compact symmetry group acting

*continuously* can be expected to have one-parameter circle subgroups acting; the consequences in physical systems are seen for example at

rotational invariance, and

spontaneous symmetry breaking.

The circle group has many

subgroups, but its only proper

closed subgroups consist of

roots of unity: For each integer

*n* > 0, the

*n*^{th} roots of unity form a

cyclic group of order

*n*, which is unique up to isomorphism.

## Representations

The

representations of the circle group are easy to describe. It follows from

Schur's lemma that the

irreducible complex representations of an abelian group are all 1-dimensional. Since the circle group is compact, any representation ρ :

**T** →

*GL*(1,

**C**) ≅

**C**^{×}, must take values in

*U*(1)≅

**T**. Therefore, the irreducible representations of the circle group are just the homomorphisms from the circle group to itself. Every such homomorphism is of the form

These representations are all inequivalent. The representation φ

_{-n} is

conjugate to φ

_{n},

These representations are just the

characters of the circle group. The

character group of

**T** is clearly an

infinite cyclic group generated by φ

_{1}:

The irreducible

real representations of the circle group are the

trivial representation (which is 1-dimensional) and the representations

taking values in SO(2). Here we only have positive integers

*n* since the representation

ρ _{− n} is equivalent to

ρ_{n}.

## Group structure

In this section we will forget about the topological structure of the circle group and look only at its structure as an abstract group.

The circle group

**T** is a

divisible group. Its

torsion subgroup is given by the set of all

*n*th

roots of unity for all

*n*, and is isomorphic to

**Q**/

**Z**. The structure theorem for divisible groups tells us that

**T** is isomorphic to the

direct sum of

**Q**/

**Z** with a number of copies of

**Q**. The number of copies of

**Q** must be

*c* (the

cardinality of the continuum) in order for the cardinality of the direct sum to be correct. But the direct sum of

*c* copies of

**Q** is isomorphic to

**R**, as

**R** is a

vector space of dimension

*c* over

**Q**. Thus

The isomorphism

can be proved in the same way, as

**C**^{×} is also a divisible abelian group whose torsion subgroup is the same as the torsion subgroup of

**T**.

## See also

## References

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