- Wave front set
In

mathematical analysis , more precisely inmicrolocal analysis , the**wave front (set)**WF("f") characterizes the singularities of ageneralized function "f", not only inspace , but more precisely also with respect to itsFourier transform at each point.**Introduction**In more familiar terms, WF("f") tells not only "where" the function "f" is not "nice" (which is already described by its

singular support ), but also "how" or "why" it is not nice, by being more exact about the 'direction'. This concept is mostly useful in dimension at least two, therefore. The term "wave front" was coined byLars Hörmander around 1970.The

**wave front set**is aclosed conical subset of thecotangent bundle :$T^*(X)$

of the differentiable manifold "X" on which the generalized function is considered.It is defined such that its projection on "X" is equal to the function's

singular support w.r.t. the considered regularity (i.e. sub-presheaf of "smoother" functions).**Definition**Using local coordinates $x,xi$, the wave front set WF("f")of a generalized function "f" can be defined in the following general way:

: $\{\; m\; WF\}(f)\; =\; \{\; (x,xi)in\; T^*(X)\; mid\; xiinSigma\_x(f)\; \}$

where $Sigma\_x(f)$ is the "singular fibre of "f" above "x",which is the complement of all directions $xi$ such that the Fourier transform of "f", "localized" at "x", is sufficiently "nice" when restricted to a

conical neighbourhood of $xi$."Localized" can here be expressed by saying that "f" is truncated by some

smooth cutoff function not vanishing at "x". (The localization process could be done in a more elegant fashion, using germs. Citation unnecessary. Fact|date=February 2007)More concretely, this can be expressed as

: $xi\; otinSigma\_x(f)\; iff\; existsphiinmathcal\; D\_x,\; exists\; Vinmathcal\; V\_xi:\; widehat\{phi\; f\}|\_Vin\; O(V)$ (or $xi=o$, never in $Sigma\_x(f)$)where

*$mathcal\; D\_x$ arecompactly supported smooth function s not vanishing at "x",

*$mathcal\; V\_xi$ are "conical neighbourhoods" of $xi$, i.e. neighbourhoods "V" such that $ccdot\; Vsubset\; V$ for all $c\; >\; 0$,

*$widehat\; u|\_V$ denotes theFourier transform of the (compactly supported generalized) function "u", restricted to "V",

*and finally $O:\; Omega\; o\; O(Omega)$ is the presheaf characterizing the regularity of the Fourier transform.Typically, sections of "O" are characterized by some growth (or decrease) condition at infinity, e.g. such that $(1+|xi|)^s\; v(xi)$ belong to some L

^{p}space.This definition makes sense, because the Fourier transform becomes moreregular (in terms of growth at infinity) when "f" is truncated with the smooth cutoff $phi$.The most difficult "problem", from a theoretical point of view,is finding the adequate sheaf "O" characterizing functions belonging to a given subsheaf "E" of the space "G" of generalized functions.

**Example**If we take "G" = "D"′ the space of

Schwartz distribution s and want to characterize distributions which are locally $C^infty$ functions,we must take for "O"(Ω) the classical function spaces called "O"′_{"M"}(Ω) in the literature.Then the projection on the first component of a distribution's wave front set is nothing else than its classical

singular support , i.e. the complement of the set on which its restriction would be asmooth function .**Applications**The wave front set is useful, among others, when studying propagation of singularities by

pseudodifferential operator s.**ee also***

FBI transform

*Singular spectrum

*Essential support **References***

Lars Hörmander , "Fourier integral operators I", Acta Math.**127**(1971), pp. 79-183.

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