Niemeier lattice

Niemeier lattice

In mathematics, a Niemeier lattice is one of the 24 positive definite even unimodular lattices of rank 24, which were classified by Hans-Volker Niemeier (1973). Venkov (1978) gave a simplified proof of the classification. Witt (1941) has a sentence mentioning that he found more than 10 such lattices, but gives no further details. One example of a Niemeier lattice is the Leech lattice.



Niemeier lattices are usually labeled by the Dynkin diagram of their root systems. These Dynkin diagrams have rank either 0 or 24, and all of their components have the same Coxeter number. (The Coxeter number, at least in these cases, is the number of roots divided by the dimension.) There are exactly 24 Dynkin diagrams with these properties, and there turns out to be a unique Niemeier lattice for each of these Dynkin diagrams.

The complete list of Niemeier lattices is given in the following table. In the table,

G0 is the order of the group generated by reflections
G1 is the order of the group of automorphisms fixing all components of the Dynkin diagram
G2 is the order of the group of automorphisms of permutations of components of the Dynkin diagram
G is the index of the root lattice in the Niemeier lattice, in other words the order of the "glue code". It is the square root of the discriminant of the root lattice.
G0×G1×G2 is the order of the automorphism group of the lattice
G×G1×G2 is the order of the automorphism group of the corresponding deep hole.
Lattice root system Coxeter number G0 G1 G2 G
Leech (no roots) 0 1 2Co1 1 Z24
A124 2 224 1 M24 212
A212 3 3!12 2 M12 36
A38 4 4!8 2 1344 44
A46 5 5!6 2 120 53
A54D4 6 6!4(234!) 2 24 72
D46 6 (234!)6 3 720 43
A64 7 7!4 2 12 72
A72D52 8 8!4 (245!)4 2 4 32
A83 9 9!3 2 6 27
A92D6 10 10!2 (256!) 2 2 20
D64 10 (256!)4 1 24 16
E64 12 (27345)4 2 24 9
A11D7E6 12 12!(267!)(27345) 2 1 12
A122 13 (13!)2 2 2 13
D83 14 (278!)3 1 6 8
A15D9 16 16!(289!) 2 1 8
A17E7 18 18!(210345.7) 2 1 6
D10E72 18 (2910!)(210345.7)2 1 2 4
D122 22 (21112!)2 1 2 4
A24 25 25! 1 2 5
D16E8 30 (21516!)(21435527) 1 1 2
E83 30 (21435527)3 1 6 1
D24 46 22324! 1 1 2

The neighborhood graph of the Niemeier lattices

If L is an odd unimodular lattice of dimension 8n and M its sublattice of even vectors, then M is contained in exactly 3 unimodular lattices, one of which is L and the other two of which are even. (If L has a norm 1 vector then the two even lattices are isomorphic.) The Kneser neighborhood graph in 8n dimensions has a point for each even lattice, and a line joining two points for each odd 8n dimensional lattice with no norm 1 vectors, where the vertices of each line are the two even lattices associated to the odd lattice. There may be several lines between the same pair of vertices, and there may be lines from a vertex to itself. Kneser proved that this graph is always connected. In 8 dimensions it has one point and no lines, in 16 dimensions it has two points joined by one line, and in 24 dimensions it is the following graph:

Neighborhood graph of Niemeier lattices.svg

Each point represents one of the 24 Niemeier lattices, and the lines joining them represent the 24 dimensional odd unimodular lattices with no norm 1 vectors. (Thick lines represent multiple lines.) The number on the right is the Coxeter number of the Niemeier lattice.

In 32 dimensions the neighborhood graph has more than a billion vertices.


Some of the Niemeier lattices are related to sporadic simple groups. The Leech lattice is acted on by a double cover of the Conway group, and the lattices A124 and A212 are acted on by the Mathieu groups M24 and M12.

The Niemeier lattices, other than the Leech lattice, correspond to the deep holes of the Leech lattice. This implies that the affine Dynkin diagrams of the Niemeier lattices can be seen inside the Leech lattice, when two points of the Leech lattice are joined by no lines when they have distance \sqrt 4, by 1 line if they have distance \sqrt 6, and by a double line if they have distance \sqrt 8.

Niemeier lattices also correspond to the 24 orbits of primitive norm zero vectors of the even unimodular Lorentzian lattice II25,1.


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