Diagonal Subschemes and Vector Bundles
Abstract
We study when a smooth variety $X$, embedded diagonally in its Cartesian square, is the zero scheme of a section of a vector bundle of rank $\dim(X)$ on $X\times X$. We call this the diagonal property (D). It was known that it holds for all flag manifolds ${\rm SL}_n/P$. We consider mainly the cases of proper smooth varieties, and the analogous problems for smooth manifolds (the topological case). Our main new observation in the case of proper varieties is a relation between (D) and cohomologically trivial line bundles on $X$, obtained by a variation of Serre's classic argument relating rank 2 vector bundles and codimension 2 subschemes, combined with Serre duality. Based on this, we have several detailed results on surfaces, and some results in higher dimensions. For smooth affine varieties, we observe that for an affine algebraic group over an algebraically closed field, the diagonal is in fact a complete intersection; thus (D) holds, using the trivial bundle. We conjecture the existence of smooth affine complex varieties for which (D) fails; this leads to an interesting question on projective modules. The arguments in the topological case have a different flavour, with arguments from homotopy theory, topological Ktheory, index theory etc. There are 3 variants of the diagonal problem, depending on the type of vector bundle we want (arbitrary, oriented or complex). We obtain a homotopy theoretic reformulation of the diagonal property as an extension problem for a certain homotopy class of maps. We also have detailed results in several cases: spheres, odd dimensional complex projective quadric hypersurfaces, and manifolds of even dimension $\leq 6$ with an almost complex structure.
 Publication:

arXiv Mathematics eprints
 Pub Date:
 September 2006
 arXiv:
 arXiv:math/0609381
 Bibcode:
 2006math......9381P
 Keywords:

 Mathematics  Algebraic Geometry;
 Mathematics  Geometric Topology;
 14F05;
 14F45;
 57R22
 EPrint:
 33 pages