Ricci curvature

Ricci curvature

In differential geometry, the Ricci curvature tensor, named after Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro, provides one way of measuring the degree to which the geometry determined by a given Riemannian metric might differ from that of ordinary Euclidean "n-"space. Like the metric itself, the Ricci tensor is a symmetric bilinear form on the tangent space of the Riemannian manifold. Roughly speaking, the Ricci tensor is a measure of "volume distortion"; that is, it encapsulates the degree to which "n-"dimensional volumes of regions in the given "n-"dimensional manifold differ from the volumes of comparable regions in Euclidean "n-"space. This is made more precise in the "direct geometric interpretation" section below. It can be associated to any affine connection; it does not require a metric or pseudometric.

Formal definition

Suppose that (M,g) is an "n-"dimensional Riemannian manifold, and let T_pM denote the tangent space of "M" at "p". For any pair xi, etain T_pM of tangent vectors at "p", the Ricci tensor mathrm{Ric} (xi , eta ) evaluated at (xi, eta ) is defined to be the trace of the linear map T_pM o T_pM given by:zeta mapsto R(zeta,eta) xiwhere "R" is the Riemann curvature tensor. In local coordinates (using the summation convention), one has:operatorname{Ric} = R_{ij},dx^i otimes dx^jwhere:R_{ij} = {R^k}_{ikj}.

That is:R_{sigma u} = {R^ ho}_{sigma ho u} ={Gamma^ ho_{ usigma_{, ho} - Gamma^ ho_{ hosigma , u}+ Gamma^ ho_{ holambda} Gamma^lambda_{ usigma}- Gamma^ ho_{ ulambda}Gamma^lambda_{ hosigma}.

As a consequence of the Bianchi identities, the Ricci tensor of a Riemannian manifold is "symmetric", in the sense that :operatorname{Ric}(xi ,eta) = operatorname{Ric}(eta ,xi)It thus follows that the Ricci tensor is completely determined by knowing the quantity operatorname{Ric} (xi , xi )for all vectors xi of unit length. This function on the set of unit tangent vectors is often simply calledthe Ricci curvature, since knowing it is equivalent to knowing the Ricci curvature tensor.

TheRicci curvature is determined by the sectional curvatures ofa Riemannian manifold, but contains less information. Indeed, if xi is a vector of unit lengthon a Riemannian "n-"manifold,then operatorname{Ric} (xi , xi) is precisely ("n"−1) times the average value of thesectional curvature, taken over all the 2-planes containing xi. (There isan ("n"−2)-dimensional family of such 2-planes.)

If the Ricci curvature function operatorname{Ric} (xi , xi ) is constant on the set of unit tangent vectors xi,the Riemannian manifold is said to have constant Ricci curvature, or to be an Einstein manifold. This happens if and only if the Ricci tensor operatorname{Ric} is a constant multiple of the metric tensor g.

If the Ricci curvature function operatorname{Ric} (xi , xi ) is positive (nonnegative) on the set of unit tangent vectors xi,the Riemannian manifold is said to have positive (nonnegative) Ricci curvature. See below fortopological consequences.

In dimensions 2 and 3 Ricci curvature algebraically determines the entire curvature tensor, but in higher dimensions Ricci curvature contains less information. For instance, Einstein manifolds do not have to have constant curvature in dimensions 4 and up.

An explicit expression for the Ricci tensor in terms of the Levi-Civita connection is given in the List of formulas in Riemannian geometry. It is valid in pseudo-Riemannian geometry as well.

Direct geometric meaning

Near any point "p" in a Riemannian manifold (M,g), one can define preferred local coordinates, called geodesic normal coordinates. These are adaptedto the metric such that geodesics through "p" corresponds to straight lines through the origin,in such a manner that the geodesic distance from "p" corresponds to the Euclidean distance from the origin.In these coordinates, the metric tensor is nicely approximated by the Euclidean metric, in the precise sense that :g_{ij} = delta_{ij}+ O (|x|^2).In these coordinates, the metric volume form then has the following
Taylor expansion at "p": :dmu_g = Big [ 1 - frac{1}{6}R_{jk}x^jx^k+ O(|x|^3) Big] dmu_ m Euclidean

Thus, if the Ricci curvature operatorname{Ric} (xi , xi ) is positive in the direction of a vector xi,the conical region in M swept out by a tightly focused family of short geodesic segments emanating from p and roughly pointing in the direction of xi will have smaller volumethan the corresponding conical region in Euclidean space. Similarly, if the Ricci curvature is negative in the direction of a given vector xi,such a conical region in the manifold will instead have larger volumethan it would in Euclidean space.

Applications of the Ricci curvature tensor

Ricci curvature plays an important role in general relativity, where it is the key term in the Einstein field equations.

Ricci curvature also appears in the Ricci flow equation, where a time-dependent Riemannian metric is deformed in the direction of minus its Ricci curvature. This system of partial differential equations is a non-linear analog of the heat equation, and was firstintroduced by Richard Hamilton in the early 1980s. Since heat tends to spread through a solid until the body reaches an equilibrium state of constant temperature, Ricci flow may be hoped to produce an equilibrium geometry fora manifold for which the Ricci curvature is constant. Recent contributions to the subject due to
Grigori Perelman now seem to show that this program works well enough in dimension three to lead to a complete classification of compact 3-manifolds, along linesfirst conjectured by William Thurston in the 1970s.

On a Kähler manifold, the Ricci curvature determines the first Chern classof the manifold (mod torsion). However, the Ricci curvature has no analogous topological interpretation on a generic Riemannian manifold.

Global geometry/topology and Ricci curvature

Here is a short list of global results concerning manifolds with positive Ricci curvature; see also classical theorems of Riemannian geometry.

Briefly, positive Ricci curvature has strong topological consequences, while (for dimension at least 3), negative Ricci curvature has "no" topological implications.

#Myers' Theorem states that if the Ricci curvature is bounded from below on a complete Riemannian manifold by left(n-1 ight)k > 0 ,!, then the manifold has diameter le pi/sqrt{k}, with equality only if the manifold is isometric to a sphere of a constant curvature "k". By a covering-space argument, it follows that any compact manifold of positive Ricci curvature must have finite fundamental group.
#The Bishop–Gromov inequality states that if a complete "m"-dimensional Riemannian manifold has non-negative Ricci curvature, then the volume of a ball is smaller or equal to the volume of a ball of the same radius in Euclidean "m"-space. Moreover, if v_p(R) denotes the volume of the ball with center "p" and radius R in the manifold and V(R)=c_m R^m denotes the volume of the ball of radius "R" in Euclidean "m"-space then function v_p(R)/V(R) is nonincreasing. (The last inequality can be generalized to arbitrary curvature bound and is the key point in the proof of Gromov's compactness theorem.)
#The Cheeger-Gromoll Splitting theorem states that if a complete Riemannian manifold with operatorname{Ric} ge 0 contains a "line", meaning a geodesic γ such that d(gamma(u),gamma(v))=|u-v| for all v,uinmathbb{R}, then it is isometric to a product space mathbb{R} imes L. Consequently, a complete manifold of positive Ricci curvature can have at most one topological end.

These results show that positive Ricci curvature has strong topological consequences. By contrast, excluding the case of surfaces, negative Ricci curvature is now known to have "no" topological implications; Joachim Lohkamp has shown (Annals of Mathematics, 1994) that any manifold of dimension greater than two admits a metric of negative Ricci curvature. (For surfaces, negative Ricci curvature implies negative sectional curvature; but the pointis that this fails rather dramatically in all higher dimensions.)

Behavior under conformal rescaling

If you change the metric g by multiplying it by a conformal factor e^{2f}, the Ricci tensor of the new, conformally related metric ilde{g}= e^{2f}g is given by Fact|date=February 2007: ilde{operatorname{Ric=operatorname{Ric}+(2-n) [ abla df-dfotimes df] + [Delta f -(n-2)|df|^2] g ,where Delta =(d^*+d)^2 is the geometric Laplacian.

If we let F = e^{-f}, then this can be rewritten as

: ilde{operatorname{Ric=operatorname{Ric}+frac{(n-2)}{F}( abla dF)+ [Delta f -(n-2)|df|^2] g ,

In particular, given a point p in a Riemannianmanifold, it is always possible to find metrics conformal to the given metric g for which the Ricci tensor vanishes at p. Note, however, that this is only point-wise assertion; it is usually impossible to make the Ricci curvature vanish identically on the entire manifold by a conformal rescaling.

For two dimensional manifolds, the above formula shows that if "f" is a
harmonic function, then the conformal scaling gmapsto e^{2f} gdoes not change the Ricci curvature.

Trace-free Ricci tensor

In Riemannian geometry and general relativity, the trace-free Ricci tensor of a pseudo-Riemannian manifold (M,g) is the tensor defined by

:Z =operatorname{Ric}- frac{S}{n}g

where "Ric" is the Ricci tensor, "S" is the scalar curvature,"g" is the metric tensor, and "n" is the dimension of "M". The name of this object reflects the fact that its trace automatically vanishes:

:Z_{ab}g^{ab}=, 0

If ngeq 3, the trace-free Ricci tensor vanishes identically if and only if :Ric = lambda gfor some constant lambda.In mathematics, this is the condition for (M,g) to be an Einstein manifold. In physics, this equationstates that (M,g) is a solution of Einstein's vacuum fieldequations with cosmological constant.

ee also

*Curvature of Riemannian manifolds
*Scalar curvature
*Ricci decomposition
*Ricci flow
*Ricci-flat manifold
*Christoffel symbols
*Basic introduction to the mathematics of curved spacetime


*A.L. Besse, "Einstein manifolds", Springer (1987)
*springer|id=r/r081800|title=Ricci tensor|author=L.A. Sidorov
*springer|id=R/r081780|title=Ricci curvature|author=L.A. Sidorov
*G. Ricci, Atti R. Inst. Venelo , 53 : 2 (1903–1904) pp. 1233–1239
*L.P. Eisenhart, "Riemannian geometry" , Princeton Univ. Press (1949)
*S. Kobayashi, K. Nomizu, "Foundations of differential geometry" , 1 , Interscience (1963)
*Z. Shen ,C. Sormani "The Topology of Open Manifolds with Nonnegative Ricci Curvature" (a survey) [http://arxiv.org/abs/math/0606774]
*G. Wei, "Manifolds with A Lower Ricci Curvature Bound" (a survey) [http://arxiv.org/abs/math/0612107]

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