# Math 259: Introduction to Analytic Number Theory Primes in arithmetic progressions: Dirichlet characters and L-functions

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1 Math 259: Introduction to Analytic Number Theory Primes in arithmetic progressions: Dirichlet characters and L-functions Dirichlet extended Euler s analysis from π(x) to π(x, a mod q) := #{p x : p is a positive prime congruent to a mod q}. We introduce his approach with the example of the distribution of primes mod 4, that is, of π(x, mod 4) and π(x, 3 mod 4). The sum of these is of course π(x) once x > 2, and we have already obtained s π(y)y s dy = log s + O s 0 () ( < s s 0 ) () from the Euler product for ζ(s). If we omit the factor ( 2 s ), we obtain a product formula for ( 2 s )ζ(s) = + 3 s + 5 s + 7 s +. If we try to estimate π(, mod 4) (or π(, 3 mod 4)) in the same way, we are led to the sum of n s over the integers all of whose prime factors are are congruent to (or 3) mod 4, which is hard to work with. But we can analyze the difference π(x, mod 4) π(x, 3 mod 4) using an Euler product for the L-series L(s, χ 4 ) := 3 s + 5 s 7 s + = χ 4 (n)n s. n= Here χ 4 is the function +, if n + mod 4; χ 4 (n) =, if n mod 4; 0, if 2 n. This function is (strongly ) multiplicative: Therefore L(s, χ 4 ) factors as did ζ(s): L(s, χ 4 ) = χ 4 (mn) = χ 4 (m)χ 4 (n) (m, n Z). (2) p prime ( χ(p cp )p cps) = c p= p prime. (3) χ(p)p s By comparison with the Euler product for ζ(s) we see that the manipulations in (3) are valid for s > (and in fact for s of real part > ). Unlike ζ(s), the function L(s, χ 4 ) remains bounded as s +, because the sum n= χ 4(n)n s may be grouped as Often a function f is called multiplicative when f(mn) = f(m)f(n) only for coprime m, n; see the Exercises.

2 ( ) ( 3 s + 5 s ) ( 7 s + 9 s ) s + in which the n-th term is O(n (s+) ) (why?). Indeed this regrouping lets us extend L(, χ 4 ) to a continuous function on (0, ). Moreover, each term ( 3 s ), (5 s 7 s ), (9 s s ),... is positive, so L(s, χ 4 ) > 0 for all s > 0, in particular for s = (you probably already know that L(, χ 4 ) = π/4). The same analysis we used to get an estimate on the Mellin transform of π( ) from the Euler product for ζ(s) can now be used starting from (3) to obtain: 2 where s π(y, χ 4 )y s dy = O() ( < s 2), (4) π(y, χ 4 ) := π(y, mod 4) π(y, 3 mod 4) = p y χ 4 (p). Averaging (4) with (), we find that s s π(y, mod 4)y s dy = 2 log + O() ( < s 2), s π(y, 3 mod 4)y s dy = 2 log + O() ( < s 2). s This is consistent with π(x, ± mod 4) 2x/ log x, and corroborates our expectation that there should be on the average as many primes congruent to + mod 4 as mod 4. Specifically, it shows that for a = ± the sets of primes congruent to a mod 4 has logarithmic density /2 in the primes. This concept is defined as follows: Definition. Suppose P is a set of positive integers such that n P /n diverges. A subset S of P is said to have logarithmic density δ if ( n s)/( n s) δ n S as s +. Taking for P the set of primes, we see that a set S of primes has logarithmic density δ if and only if as s +. p S n P p s δ log s This notion of logarithmic density has the properties we would expect from a density: δ [0, ]; a set of positive density is nonempty; if disjoint sets P, P 2 2 Again, the choice of s 0 > does not matter, because we are concerned with the behavior near s = ; thus we have made the traditional and convenient choice s 0 = 2, rather than continue with an unspecified s 0 and a distracting subscript in O s0. 2

3 have logarithmic densities δ, δ 2, then P P 2 has logarithmic density δ + δ 2 ; and if P, P 2 are sets of logarithmic densities δ, δ 2 and P P 2, then δ δ 2. See the first Exercise for further information. We can use the notion of logarithmic density to state Dirichlet s theorem as follows: Theorem [Dirichlet]. For any positive integer q, and any integer a coprime to q, the primes congruent to a mod q constitute a set of logarithmic density /ϕ(q) in the primes. Here ϕ is the Euler phi ( totient ) function, ϕ(q) = (Z/q). We have just proved the cases (q, a) = (4, ±) of Dirichlet s theorem. The same method disposes of (q, a) = (3, ±), using and ( 3 s )ζ(s) = + 2 s + 4 s + 5 s + 7 s + 8 s + L(s, χ 3 ) := 2 s + 4 s 5 s + = χ 3 (n)n s, n= Where χ 3 is the multiplicative function defined by +, if n + mod 3; χ 3 (n) =, if n mod 3; 0, if 3 n. With a tad more work we can deal with q = 8. Let χ 8 (n) be + if n ± mod 8, if n ±3 mod 8, and 0 if n is even. This is a multiplicative function, as is χ 4 χ 8 ; the resulting L-functions L(s, χ 8 ) = L(s, χ 4 χ 8 ) = χ 8 (n)n s = 3 s 5 s + 7 s + +, n= χ 4 χ 8 (n)n s = + 3 s 5 s 7 s + + n= have Euler products for s > and are positive for s > 0 (to prove this for L(s, χ 8 ), group the terms in fours rather than pairs and use the convexity of the function n n s ). We deduce that χ 8 (p)p s = O() and χ 4 χ 8 (p)p s = O() p for s (, 2], which combined with previous results yields Dirichlet s theorem for q = 8. Similarly we can handle q = 2, and with some more effort even q = 24. What about q = 5? We have the quadratic character, which takes n to + or if x ± or ±2 mod 5 (and to 0 if 5 n), but this only lets us separate quadratic from non-quadratic residues mod 5. We need a new idea to p 3

4 get at the individual nonzero residue classes mod 5. (Recall that {5k + 2} and {5k 2} are the first cases of arithmetic progressions that we could not prove contain infinitely many primes using variations of Euclid s proof.) Let χ be the multiplicative function from Z to the complex numbers which takes n 0,, 2, 3, 4 mod 5 to 0,, i, i,. Another such function is the complex conjugate χ = χ 3, while χ 2 is the quadratic character and χ 4 is the trivial character taking n to 0 or according as 5 n or not. The resulting L-functions n χ(n)n s, n χ(n)n s then take complex values, but still have Euler products and extend to continuous functions on s > 0. Moreover, these functions never vanish on s > 0; indeed their real and imaginary parts are both nonzero, as we see by combining the real terms into (5k +, 5k + 4) pairs and the imaginary terms into (5k + 2, 5k + 3) pairs. Likewise the L-function associated to the quadratic character χ 2 has an Euler product and is positive for s > 0 by convexity of n s. We conclude as before that p χj (p)p s = O() as s + for each j =, 2, 3, and recover Dirichlet s theorem for q = 5 by taking linear combinations of these sums and p p s = log s + O(). For general q, we proceed analogously, using linear combinations of Dirichlet characters, whose definition follows. Definition. For a positive integer q, a Dirichlet character mod q is a function χ : Z C which is q-periodic: n n mod q χ(n) = χ(n ); supported on the integers coprime to q and on no smaller subset of Z: (n, q) = χ(n) 0; and multiplicative: χ(m)χ(n) = χ(mn) for all integers m, n. To such a character is associated the Dirichlet L-series L(s, χ) := χ(n)n s = χ(p)p s n= p (s > ). (5) Examples: The trivial character χ 0 mod q is defined by χ(n) = if (n, q) = and χ(n) = 0 otherwise. Its associated L-series is L(s, χ 0 ) = p q ( p s ) ζ(s). (6) If l is prime then the Legendre symbol ( /l), defined by (n/l) = 0,, according as n is zero, a nonzero square, or not a square mod l, is a character mod l. If χ is a Dirichlet character mod q then so is its complex conjugate χ (defined of course by χ(n) = χ(n) ), with L(s, χ) = L(s, χ) for s >. If χ, χ are characters mod q, q then χχ is a character mod lcm(q, q ). In particular, we have: Lemma: For each q, the characters mod q constitute a group under pointwise multiplication, with identity χ 0 and inverse χ = χ. 4

5 What is this group? A Dirichlet character mod q is just a homomorphism from (Z/q) to the unit circle, extended by zero to a function on Z/q and lifted to Z. Therefore the group of such characters is the Pontrjagin dual of (Z/q). Pontrjagin duality for finite abelian groups like (Z/q) is easy, since it is equivalent to the theory of the discrete Fourier transform. We next recall the basic facts. For any finite abelian group G, let Ĝ be its Pontrjagin dual, defined as the group of homomorphisms from G to the unit circle in C. Then the dual of G H is Ĝ Ĥ, and the dual of Z/m is a cyclic group of order m. Since any finite abelian group is a product of cyclic groups, it follows that Ĝ is isomorphic with G. This isomorphism is not in general canonical, 3 but there is a canonical isomorphism from G to the dual of Ĝ (the second dual of G), namely the map taking an g G to the homomorphism χ χ(g). That this is an isomorphism can be checked directly for cyclic groups, and then deduced for any finite abelian G because all such G are direct sums of abelian groups. The characters of G are orthogonal: χ (g) χ 2 (g) = g G { G, if χ = χ 2 ; 0, if χ χ 2. In particular, they are linearly independent; since there are G of them, they form a basis for the vector space of complex-valued functions on G. The decomposition of an arbitrary such function f : G C is a linear combination of characters is achieved by the inverse Fourier transform: f = χ Ĝ f χ χ, where f χ := G χ(g)f(g). In particular, the characteristic function of any g 0 G is G χ χ(g 0)χ. What does all this tell us about Dirichlet L-functions and distribution of primes mod q? First, that if we define π(, χ) by π(x, χ) := χ(p) then, for all a coprime to q, Second, that s g G a mod q χ(a)π(x, a mod q) = p<x π(x, a mod q) = ϕ(q) π(y, χ)y s dy = p χ mod q χ(a)π(x, χ). χ(p)p s = log L(s, χ) + O() (7) 3 For instance, if G is cyclic of order 5, there can be no canonical nondegenerate pairing, : G G C, because such a pairing would have to be invariant under Aut(G) = (Z/5), but g 2, g 2 = g, g 4 g, g. 5

6 For < s 2. This is again obtained by taking logarithms in the Euler product (5). The Euler product shows that L(s, χ) 0 for s > ; if χ is complex, log L(s, χ) means the branch of the logarithm that approaches 0 as s. For the behavior of L(s, χ) near s =, we have: Lemma. i) If χ = χ 0 then log L(s, χ) = log(/(s )) + O() as s +. ii) For nontrivial χ, the sum defining L(s, χ) converges for s > 0 and defines a continuous function on the positive reals. Proof : (i) follows from (6), together with our estimate on ζ(s) for s +. As for (ii), as a special case of character orthogonality we have a mod q χ(a) = 0, so S χ (x) := 0<n<x χ(n) is a bounded function of x. Hence (for large M, N / Z)4 M<n<N χ(n) N n s = y s ds χ (y) = S χ (y)y s N N + s y s S χ (y) dy M M M χ M s + N s, which for fixed s > 0 tends to zero as M, N. Thus the sum n= χ(n)n s converges. Moreover, for any s 0 > 0, the convergence is uniform in s s 0. Hence n= χ(n)n s is the uniform limit of continuous functions N n= χ(n)n s, and is therefore a continuous function on (0, ), as claimed. From (7) we see that the crucial question is whether L(, χ) is nonzero: the righthand side is O() if L(, χ) 0 but log(/(s )) + O() if L(, χ) = 0 (since L(s, χ) is differentiable at s = ). Our experience with small q, and our expectation that the primes should not favor one congruence class in (Z/q) to another, both suggest that L(, χ) will not vanish. This is true, and can be checked in any given case by a finite computation; but our methods thus far do not let us prove it in general (try doing it for χ = ( /67) or ( /63)!). For the time being, then, we can only obtain a conditional result: Proposition. Assume that L(, χ) 0 for all nontrivial characters χ mod q. Then Dirichlet s theorem holds for all arithmetic progressions mod q. Proof : For each a (Z/q), multiply (7) by χ(a), and average over χ to obtain p a mod q p s = ϕ(q) χ χ(a) log L(s, χ) + O() = ϕ(q) log s + O() for < s 2, since χ 0 contributes χ 0 (a) log ζ(s) + O() = log s + O() to the sum, while the other terms remain bounded by hypothesis. Thus the primes congruent to a mod q have logarithmic density /ϕ(q), as claimed. In fact the nonvanishing of L(, χ) was proved by Dirichlet, who thus established his celebrated theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions. At least three 4 We require that M, N / Z to avoid the distraction of whether the Riemann-Stieltjes integral N M y s ds χ(y) includes the terms with n = M or n = N in the sum. 6

7 proofs are now known. These three proofs all start with the product of the L-functions associated to all ϕ(q) Dirichlet characters mod q: χ mod q L(s, χ) = p χ mod q ( χ(p)p s ) The inner product can be evaluated with the following cyclotomic identity: Let G be a finite abelian group and g G an element of order m. Then ( χ(g)z) = ( z m ) G /m (8) hold identically for all z. χ Ĝ The identity is an easy consequence of the factorization of z m together with the fact that any character of a subgroup H G extends in [G : H] ways to a character of G (in our case H will be the cyclic subgroup generated by g). Let m p, then, be the multiplicative order of p mod q (for all but the finitely many primes p dividing q). Then we get ( p mps ) ϕ(q)/mp. (9) χ mod q L(s, χ) = p q The left-hand side contains the factor L(s, χ 0 ), which is C/(s ) + O() as s + for some C > 0 [in fact C = ϕ(q)/q]. Since the remaining factors are differentiable at s =, if any of them were to vanish there the product would remain bounded as s +. So we must show that this cannot happen. Dirichlet s original approach was to observe that (9) is, up to a few factors n s with n q, the zeta function of the cyclotomic number field Q(e 2πi/q ). He then proved that the zeta function ζ K (s) of any number field K is C/(s ) as s + for some positive constant C (and gave an exact formula for C, which includes the class number of K and is thus called the Dirichlet class number formula ). That is undoubtedly the best way to go about it but it requires more algebraic number theory than I want to assume here. Fortunately there are at least two ad-hoc simplifications available. The first is that we need only worry about real characters. If L(, χ) = 0 then also L(, χ) = 0. Hence if χ χ but L(, χ) = 0 then there are at least two factors in the left-hand side of (9) that vanish at s = ; since they are differentiable there, the product would be not only bounded as s +, but approach zero there which is impossible because the right-hand side is > for all s >. But if χ is a real character then L(s, χ 0 )L(s, χ) is (again within a few factors n s of) the L-function of a quadratic number field. Developing the algebraic number theory of quadratic number fields takes considerably less work than is needed for the full Dirichlet class number formula, and if we only want to get unboundedness as s + it is even easier for instance, if χ( ) =. 7

8 then the right-hand side of (9) is dominated by the zeta function of a binary quadratic form, which is easily seen to be /(s ). However, even this easier proof is beyond the scope of what I want to assume or fully develop in this class. Fortunately there is a way to circumvent any ζ K beyond K = Q, using the fact that the right-hand side of (9) also dominates the series ζ(ϕ(q) s), which diverges not at s = but at s = /ϕ(q). Since this s is still positive, we can still get a proof of L(, χ) 0 from it, but only by appealing to the magic of complex analysis. We thus defer the proof until we have considered ζ(s) and more generally L(s, χ) as functions of a complex variable s, which we shall have to do anyway to obtain the Prime Number Theorem and results on the density (not just logarithmic density) of primes in arithmetic progressions. Remarks Let K be any number field (finite algebraic extension of Q), and O K its ring of algebraic integers. The zeta function ζ K (s) is I I s, where I ranges over nonzero ideals of O K and I = [O K : I] is the norm of I. For instance, ζ(s) = ζ Q (s), and if K = Q[i] then ζ K (s) = 4 (m 2 +n 2 ) s, the sum extending over all (m, n) Z 2 other than (0, 0). The relation between the product (9) and the zeta function of Q(e 2πi/q ) can be made more precise: if we replace each χ by its underlying primitive character (see the Exercises), the product is exactly the zeta function of that cyclotomic number field. Similarly, for any quadratic field K there is a primitive Dirichlet character χ such that ζ K (s) = ζ(s)l(s, χ). These are the prototypical examples of the factorization of a zeta function as a product of Artin L-functions; the fact that the Artin L-functions for -dimensional representations are Dirichlet series is a prototype for class field theory. Dirichlet s theorem in turn generalizes to the Čebotarev density theorem. These theorems all require more algebraic machinery than the results we shall obtain using only the Riemann zeta and Dirichlet L-functions, but much the same analytic methods. Therefore we shall not develop them further in Math 259. Exercises Concerning density:. If P is an infinite set of integers, the (natural) density of any subset S P is lim #{n S : n < x}/#{n P : n < x}, x if the limit exists. Check that this satisfies the same properties we noted for the logarithmic density (density of subsets, disjoint unions, etc.). Show that if n P /n diverges and S P has density δ in S then it also has logarithmic density δ in S. (Use partial summation to write n P n s as an integral involving #{n S : n < x}.) If P is the set of natural numbers and S d (d =, 2,..., 9) is the subset consisting of integers whose first decimal digit is d, show that S d has logarithmic density log 0 ( + d ) in P but no natural density. Does every set of natural numbers have a logarithmic density? 8

9 While not every set with a logarithmic density has a natural density, we shall see that the primes congruent to a mod q do have natural density /ϕ(q) in the primes. As for the sets S d, their logarithmic densities account for Benford s Law, the observation that in many naturally occurring random numbers the initial digit d occurs with frequency log 0 ( + ), rather than /9 as one might expect. d Concerning Euler products: 2. One may associate to any sequence (a, a 2, a 3,...) of complex numbers an L-series L(s) = n= a nn s, which converges absolutely in some right halfplane s > s 0 if a n n s0. Show that L(s) has an Euler product L(s) = ( ) a p c p cs p if and only if a mn = a m a n for any m, n such that gcd(m, n) =. (Such functions n a n are called multiplicative. Note that necessarily a = if {a n } is multiplicative.) 3. Let f(s) be the sum of n s over squarefree positive integers n. Express f(s) in terms of the zeta function, and evaluate f(2). What are the a n such that /ζ(s) = n= a nn s? Given k, what is the coefficient of n s in ζ(s k), or ζ(s)ζ(s k)? 4. Find a, a 2,... such that p p s = n= a n log ζ(ns) for all s >. Use this (and a computer package that knows about ζ(2n) and high-precision arithmetic) to calculate that p 2 = p Note that this is much greater accuracy than we could reasonably expect to reach by summing the series directly. We shall see that this trick can be adapted to efficiently compute p f(p) for many natural choices of f. Concerning Pontrjagin duality: 5. Show that to any homomorphism α : H G between finite abelian groups there is a canonically associated homomorphism ˆα : Ĝ Ĥ in the opposite direction between their Pontrjagin duals. Check that α is the dual of ˆα (under the canonical identification of G and H with the duals of Ĝ, Ĥ), and that if β is a homomorphism from G to a finite abelian group K then the dual of the composite homomorphism β α : H K is ˆα ˆβ. Prove that im(α) = ker(β) if and only if im( ˆβ) = ker(ˆα). In particular, if H G is an injection, it follows (by taking β to be the quotient map G G/α(H)) that the restriction map ˆα : Ĝ Ĥ is a surjection; this was used to prove the cyclotomic identity (8). An adherent of the categorical imperative would summarize this exercise, together with the easy observations that îd = id (when G = H) and ˆ0 = 0, by saying that Pontrjagin duality is an exact contravariant functor on the category of finite abelian groups. c=0 9

10 Concerning Dirichlet characters: 6. Show that the integers q modulo which all the Dirichlet characters are real (take on only the values 0, ±) are precisely 24 and its factors. Show that every real Dirichlet character is of the form χ 0 ψ l S ( /l), where χ 0 is the trivial character, ψ = χ ɛ4 4 χɛ8 8 for some ɛ 4, ɛ 8 {0, }, and S is a (possibly empty) finite set S of odd primes. 7. Let χ 0 be the trivial character mod q, and let q be some factor of q. For any character χ mod q there is a character χ mod q defined by χ = χ 0 χ. Express L(s, χ) in terms of L(s, χ ). Conclude that L(, χ) 0 if and only if L(, χ ) A character mod q that cannot be obtained in this way from any character mod a proper factor q q (a factor other than q itself) is called primitive. Show that any Dirichlet character χ comes from a unique primitive character χ. [The modulus of this χ is called the conductor of χ.] Show that the number of primitive characters mod n is n p n α p, where α p = ((p )/p) 2 if p 2 n and (p 2)/p if p n. NB there are no primitive characters mod n when 2 n. The notation p f n means that p f divides n exactly ; that is, p f n but p f+ does not divide n. Equivalently, the p-valuation of n is f. 9. Deduce the fact that for any q there is at most one nontrivial character χ mod q such that L(, χ) = 0, as a consequence of (7) together with the fact that π(x, a mod q) 0 for all x, a, q. [In the final analysis, this is not much different from our proof using the product of L-series.] Using either this approach or the one based on (9), prove that there is at most one primitive Dirichlet character of any modulus whose L-function vanishes at s =. [Assume there were two, and obtain two different imprimitive characters to the same modulus whose L-functions both vanish at s =, which we ve already shown impossible. We shall encounter this trick again when we come to Siegel s ineffective lower bound on L(, χ).] Concerning L-series: 0. Show that if χ is a nontrivial character then L(s, χ) is infinitely differentiable on s (0, ), and its m-th derivative is given by the convergent sum n= ( log n)m χ(n)n s (m =, 2, 3,...).. i) Prove that if s has real part σ > then ζ(2σ)/ζ(σ) < L(s, χ) ζ(σ) for all Dirichlet characters χ. ii) Prove that these bounds are sharp by showing that for all σ > and ɛ > 0 there exist infinitely many χ such that L(σ, χ) > ζ(σ) ɛ and infinitely many χ such that L(σ, χ) < ζ(2σ)/ζ(σ) + ɛ. We shall show that the bounds are also sharp for individual Dirichlet characters: for each χ, σ, ɛ there exist s of real part σ such that L(s, χ) is arbitrarily close to ζ(σ), and s of real part σ such that L(s, χ) is arbitrarily close to ζ(2σ)/ζ(σ). 2. [Zeta function of a quadratic form] For some positive integer r, let Q : 0

11 R r R be a positive-definite quadratic form. Show that ζ Q (s) := n Z r n 0 Q(n) s converges absolutely if and only if s has real part > r/2, and determine the limit of (s (r/2))ζ Q (s) as s r/2 from above. [Use partial summation with respect to #{n Z r : Q(n) x}. Check that your answer is consistent with the answer for r =, when Q(n) = an 2 and ζ Q (s) = a s ζ(2s).] If Q is the standard quadratic form Q(n) = n 2 + n 2 2, prove that ζ Q (s) = 4ζ(s)L(s, χ 4 ). (This is an example of the relation between (9) and the zeta function of a number field. Check that it is consistent with your formula for the growth of ζ Q (s) as s r/2.) Obtain a similar formula for Q(n) = n 2 + n n 2 + n 2 2. What other Q can you find for which ζ Q (s) is proportional to a product of Dirichlet L-functions?

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