Posts Tagged ‘reversible ring’

Definition 1. A ring R is called Dedekind-finite if \forall a,b \in R: \ ab=1 \Longrightarrow ba=1.

Remark 1. Some trivial examples of Dedekind-finite rings: commutative rings, any direct product of Dedekind-finite rings, any subring of a Dedekind-finite ring.

Definition 2. A ring R is called reversible if \forall a,b \in R : \ ab = 0 \Longrightarrow ba = 0.

Example 1. Every reversible ring R is Dedekind-finite. In particular, reduced rings are Dedekind-finite.

Proof. Suppose that ab=1 for some a,b \in R. Then (ba-1)b=b(ab)-b=0 and thus b(ba-1)=0. So b^2a=b and hence ab^2a=ab=1. It follows that ba=(ab^2a)ba=(ab^2)(ab)a=ab^2a=1. So R is Dedekind-finite. Finally, note that every reduced ring is reversible because if ab=0, for some a,b \in R, then (ba)^2=b(ab)a=0 and thus ba=0. \Box

Example 2. Every (left or right) Noetherian ring R is Dedekind-finite.

Proof. We will assume that R is left Noetherian. Suppose that ab=1 for some a,b \in R. Define the map f: R \longrightarrow R by f(r)=rb. Clearly f is an R-module homomorphism and f is onto because f(ra)=(ra)b=r(ab)=r, for all r \in R. Now we have an ascending chain of left ideals of R

\ker f \subseteq \ker f^2 \subseteq \cdots.

Since R is left Noetherian, this chain stabilizes at some point, i.e. there exists some n such that \ker f^n = \ker f^{n+1}. Clearly f^n is onto because f is onto. Thus f^n(c)=ba-1 for some c \in R. Then

f^{n+1}(c)=f(ba-1)=(ba-1)b=b(ab)-b=0.

Hence c \in \ker f^{n+1}=\ker f^n and therefore ba-1=f^n (c) = 0. \Box

Example 3. Finite rings are obviously Noetherian and so Dedekind-finite by Example 2. More generally:

Example 4. If the number of nilpotent elements of a ring is finite, then the ring is Dedekind-finite. See here.

Note that Example 4 implies that every reduced ring is Dedekind-finite; a fact that we proved in Example 1.

Example 5. Let k be a field and let R be a finite dimensional k-algebra. Then R is Dedekind-finite.

Proof. Every left ideal of R is clearly a k-vector subspace of R and thus, since \dim_k R < \infty, any ascending chain of left ideals of R will stop at some point. So R is left Noetherian and thus, by Example 2, R is Dedekind-finite. \Box

Remark 2. Two important cases of Example 5 are M_n(R), the ring of n \times n matrices over a field, and, in general, semisimple rings. As a trivial result, M_n(R) is Dedekind-finite for any commutative domain R because M_n(R) is a subring of M_n(Q(R)), where Q(R) is the quotient field of R.
So the ring of n \times n matrices, where n \geq 2, over a field is an example of a Dedekind-finite ring which is not reversible, i.e. the converse of Example 1 is not true. Now let R_i = \mathbb{Z}, \ i \geq 1. Then R= \prod_{i=1}^{\infty} R_i is obviously Dedekind-finite but not Noetherian. So the converse of Example 2 is not true.

Example 6 and Example 7 are two generalizations of Example 5.

Example 6. Every algebraic algebra R over a field k is Dedekind-finite.

Proof. Suppose that ab=1 for some a,b \in R. Since R is algebraic over k, there exist integers n \geq m \geq 0 and some \alpha_i \in k with \alpha_n \alpha_m \neq 0 such that \sum_{i=m}^n \alpha_i b^i = 0. We will assume that n is as small as possible. Suppose that m \geq 1. Then, since ab=1, we have

\sum_{i=m}^n \alpha_i b^{i-1}=a \sum_{i=m}^n \alpha_i b^i = 0,

which contradicts the minimality of n. So m = 0. Let c = -\alpha_0^{-1}\sum_{i=1}^n \alpha_i b^{i-1} and see that bc=cb=1. But then a=a(bc)=(ab)c=c and therefore ba=bc=1. \ \Box

Remark 3. Regarding Examples 5 and 6, note that although any finite dimensional k-algebra R is algebraic over k, but R being algebraic over k does not necessarily imply that R is finite dimensional over k. For example, if \overline{\mathbb{Q}} is the algebraic closure of \mathbb{Q} in \mathbb{C}, then it is easily seen that \dim_{\mathbb{Q}} \overline{\mathbb{Q}}=\infty. Thus the matrix ring R = M_n(\overline{\mathbb{Q}}) is an algebraic \mathbb{Q}-algebra which is not finite dimensional over \mathbb{Q}. So, as a \mathbb{Q}-algebra, R is Dedekind-finite by  Example 6 not Example 5.

Example 7. Every PI-algebra R is Dedekind-finite.

Proof. Let J(R) be the Jacobson radical of R. If J(R)=\{0\}, then R is a subdirect product of primitive algebras R/P_i, where P_i are the primitive ideals of R. Since R is PI, each R/P_i is PI too and thus, by Kaplansky’s theorem, R/P_i is a matrix ring over some division algebra and thus Dedekind-finite by Example 2. Thus \prod R/P_i is Dedekind-finite and so R, which is a subalgebra of \prod R/P_i, is also Dedekind-finite. For the general case, let S=R/J(R). Now, S is PI, because R is PI, and J(S)=\{0\}. Therefore, by what we just proved, S is Dedekind-finite. Suppose that ab = 1 for some a,b \in R and let c,d be the image of a,b in S respectively. Clearly cd=1_S and so dc=1_S. Thus 1-ba \in J(R) and so ba=1-(1-ba) is invertible. Hence there exists e \in R such that e(ba)=1. But then eb=(eb)ab=e(ba)b=b and hence ba=(eb)a=e(ba)=1. \Box