In algebraic geometry, an affine GIT quotient, or affine geometric invariant theory quotient, of an affine scheme with an action by a group scheme G is the affine scheme , the prime spectrum of the ring of invariants of A, and is denoted by . A GIT quotient is a categorical quotient: any invariant morphism uniquely factors through it.
A GIT quotient is a categorical quotient of the locus of semistable points; i.e., "the" quotient of the semistable locus. Since the categorical quotient is unique, if there is a geometric quotient, then the two notions coincide: for example, one has
for an algebraic group G over a field k and closed subgroup H.
If X is a complex smooth projective variety and if G is a reductive complex Lie group, then the GIT quotient of X by G is homeomorphic to the symplectic quotient of X by a maximal compact subgroup of G (Kempf–Ness theorem).
Construction of a GIT quotient
be the section ring. By definition, the semistable locus is the complement of the zero set in X; in other words, it is the union of all open subsets for global sections s of , n large. By ampleness, each is affine; say and so we can form the affine GIT quotient
which is the GIT quotient of X with respect to L. Note that if X is projective; i.e., it is the Proj of R, then the quotient is given simply as the Proj of the ring of invariants .
The most interesting case is when the stable locus is nonempty; is the open set of semistable points that have finite stabilizers and orbits that are closed in . In such a case, the GIT quotient restricts to
which has the property: every fiber is an orbit. That is to say, is a genuine quotient (i.e., geometric quotient) and one writes . Because of this, when is nonempty, the GIT quotient is often referred to as a "compactification" of a geometric quotient of an open subset of X.
A difficult and seemingly open question is: which geometric quotient arises in the above GIT fashion? The question is of a great interest since the GIT approach produces an explicit quotient, as opposed to an abstract quotient, which is hard to compute. One known partial answer to this question is the following: let be a locally factorial algebraic variety (for example, a smooth variety) with an action of . Suppose there are an open subset as well as a geometric quotient such that (1) is an affine morphism and (2) is quasi-projective. Then for some linearlized line bundle L on X. (An analogous question is to determine which subring is the ring of invariants in some manner.)
Finite group action by
A simple example of a GIT quotient is given by the -action on sending
Notice that the monomials generate the ring . Hence we can write the ring of invariants as
Scheme theoretically, we get the morphism
which is a singular subvariety of with isolated singularity at . This can be checked using the differentials, which are
Torus action on plane
Consider the torus action of on by . Note this action has a few orbits: the origin , the punctured axes, , and the affine conics given by for some . Then, the GIT quotient has structure sheaf which is the subring of polynomials , hence it is isomorphic to . This gives the GIT quotient
Notice the inverse image of the point is given by the orbits , showing the GIT quotient isn't necessarily an orbit space. If it were, there would be three origins, a non-separated space.
- NB: In (MFK) harv error: no target: CITEREFMFK (help), it was called the set of properly stable points
- MFK, Converse 1.13. NB: even though the result is stated for a smooth variety, the proof there is valid for a locally factorial one. harvnb error: no target: CITEREFMFK (help)
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