# CHAPTER 1. Étale cohomology

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1 CHAPTER 1 Étale cohomology This chapter summarizes the theory of the étale topology on schemes, culminating in the results on l-adic cohomology that are needed in the construction of Galois representations and in the proof of the Ramanujan Petersson conjecture. In 1.1 we discuss the basic properties of the étale topology on a scheme, including the concept of a constructible sheaf of sets. The étale fundamental group and cohomological functors are introduced in 1.2, and we use Čech methods to compute some H 1 s in terms of π 1 s, as in topology. These calculations provide the starting point for the proof of the étale analogue of the topological proper base change theorem. This theorem is discussed in 1.3, where we also explain the étale analogue of homotopy-invariance for the cohomology of local systems and we introduce the vanishing-cycles spectral sequence, Poincaré duality, the Künneth formula, and the comparison isomorphism with topological cohomology over C (for torsion coefficients). The adic formalism is developed in 1.4, and it is used to define étale cohomology with l-adic coefficients; we discuss the Künneth isomorphism and Poincaré duality with Q l -coefficients, and extend the comparison isomorphism with topological cohomology to the l-adic case. We conclude in 1.5 by discussing étale cohomology over finite fields, L-functions of l-adic sheaves, and Deligne s purity theorems for the cohomology of l-adic sheaves. Our aim is to provide an overview of the main constructions and some useful techniques of proof, not to give a complete account of the theory. We generally refer to the literature (especially [6], [9], and [15]) for additional technical details Étale sheaves We begin with a summary of the definitions of étale and smooth morphisms, and then we define the étale topology on a scheme. There are two categories of sheaves that will be of interest to us: the category of sheaves of sets and the category of sheaves of abelian groups. We initially put more emphasis on the sheaves of sets, as this is the right framework for developing the concept of constructibility. After setting forth these basics, we analyze the étale topology and sheaf theory on Spec k for a field k, and we prove that these concepts are a reformulation of the theory of discrete Galois-sets. This leads to an equivalence between étale cohomology of Spec k and Galois cohomology of k. This special case underlies the relevance of étale cohomology in the construction of Galois representations, and that is why we work it out in detail. The remainder of this section focuses on basic operations on sheaves of sets and sheaves of abelian groups, such as the three operations of pushforward, pullback, and extension-by-, as well as additional functors such as limits and stalks. We also explain the rudiements of the theory of constructible sheaves. Aside from the 1

2 2 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY restriction to the noetherian case when we define constructible étale sheaves, we avoid noetherian hypotheses Smooth and étale scheme maps. There are several equivalent ways to formulate the definitions of étaleness and smoothness for scheme morphisms. The reader is referred to [3, Ch. 1] and [17, ] for treatments giving much more detail than we do in our summary of the basics. We will give definitions that avoid noetherian conditions, and this requires a replacement for the concept of a locally finite-type morphism: Definition A map of schemes f : X S is locally of finite presentation if, for any open affine Spec A = U S and any open affine Spec B f 1 (U), there is an A-algebra isomorphism B A[T 1,..., T n ]/I for a finitely generated ideal I. This property may be checked with one open affine covering {U i } of S and one open affine covering of each f 1 (U i ). Consequently, it is preserved under base change and composition, and it is local on both X and S. See [17, 1.4] for further details. There is also an elegant functorial criterion for a map to be locally of finite presentation [17, ], whereas no such criterion is know for being locally of finite type, and so the entirety of condition (4) in each of the following two definitions may be described in the language of functors. Definition A map of schemes f : S S is étale if it satisfies one of the following equivalent properties: (1) For every s S there is an open neighborhood U S around s and an open affine neighborhood Spec R U S around f(s ) with f(u ) U such that U is U-isomorphic to an open subscheme of Spec(R[T ]/g) g for some monic polynomial g R[T ] (with g = dg/dt ). (2) The map f is locally of finite presentation and flat, and each fiber f 1 (s) is i I s Spec k i,s for finite separable extensions k i,s of k(s). (3) The map f is locally of finite presentation and flat, and Ω 1 S /S = 0. (4) The map f is locally of finite presentation and satisfies the functorial criterion for being formally étale: for any closed immersion Spec A 0 Spec A over S with I = ker(a A 0 ) satisfying I 2 = 0, the natural map S (A) S (A 0 ) is bijective (i.e., solutions to the equations defining S over S can be uniquely lifted through nilpotent thickenings). Property (1) is the structure theorem for étale morphisms, and this property visibly implies that f is flat. If S is locally noetherian, then in (4) it suffices to use only artin local Spec A over s S with residue field equal to a chosen algebraic closure of k(s). Condition (4) is the one that can be checked in abstract situations with moduli problems, and deducing the structure theorem (and hence flatness) from (4) is the hardest part of the proof that these conditions are equivalent. Étale maps are open (as are locally finitely presented flat maps in general), and any map between étale S-schemes is étale. Example The basic example of an étale scheme over S = Spec R is the situation described by the equations in the inverse function theorem in analytic geometry: we take S to be an open subscheme in Spec(R[T 1,..., T n ]/(f 1,..., f n )) such that the Jacobian matrix J = ( f i / T j ) has determinant that is a unit on S. The structure theorem is the special case n = 1.

3 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES 3 It is not obvious by explicit computation that this example satisfies any of the conditions (1), (2), or (3), but the invertibility of J on S allows us to verify condition (4), as follows. Let M = A n and let f : M M be the polynomial map defined by the f i s. Let f 0 : M 0 M 0 be the reduction modulo I. We suppose v 0 M 0 satisfies f 0 (v 0 ) = 0 and det J(v 0 ) A 0, and we seek to uniquely lift v 0 to v M satisfying f(v) = 0. Pick v M lifting v 0, so f(v) IM and we seek unique ε IM such that f(v + ε) = 0. Since I 2 = 0 we have f(v + ε) = f(v) + (J(v))(ε), and det(j(v)) A has reduction det(j(v 0 )) A 0, so J(v) is invertible. Thus, we may indeed uniquely solve ε = J(v) 1 ( f(v)). Definition A map of schemes f : X S is smooth if it satisfies any of the following equivalent conditions: (1) For all x X there are opens V X around x and U S around f(x) with f(v ) U such that V admits an étale U-map to some A n U. (2) The map f is locally of finite presentation and flat, and all fibers f 1 (s) are regular and remain so after extension of scalars to some perfect extension of k(s). (3) The map f is locally of finite presentation and flat, and Ω 1 X/S is locally free with rank near x X equal to dim x X f(x) (the maximal dimension of an irreducible component of X f(x) through x) for each x X. (4) The map f is locally of finite presentation and satisfies the functorial criterion for being formally smooth: for any closed immersion Spec A 0 Spec A over S with I = ker(a A 0 ) satisfying I 2 = 0, the natural map X(A) X(A 0 ) is surjective (i.e., solutions to the equations defining X over S can be lifted through nilpotent thickenings). Property (1) is the structure theorem for smooth morphisms. If S is locally noetherian, then in (4) it suffices to use artin local Spec A with residue field equal to a chosen algebraic closure of the residue field at the image point in S. As with étaleness, (4) is the easy condition to check in abstract situations. The difficult part in the proof of the equivalence is again that (4) implies (1). Example The basic example of a smooth scheme over S = Spec R is any open subscheme X in Spec(R[T 1,..., T n ]/(f 1,..., f r )) such that the r n matrix J = ( f i / T j ) has rank r at all points of X. Conditions (1), (2), and (3) are not easily checked by explicit computation, but condition (4) may be checked by the same method as in Example In the present case, J(v) = ( f i / T j )(v) is pointwise of rank-r on Spec A, so (by Nakayama s lemma) it is a surjective linear map A n A r. The following elementary lemma partly justifies the preceding definitions. Lemma A map f : X S between algebraic C-schemes is étale if and only if f an is a local isomorphism of analytic spaces. Likewise, f is smooth if and only if f an is smooth. A local isomorphism is a map that is an open immersion locally on the source. Proof. To pass from f to f an we use condition (1), and to pass from f an to f we use condition (3) and the fact that analytification commutes with formation of

4 4 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY complete local rings. Alternatively, with a bit more technique, both the algebraic and analytic cases may be checked by considering (4) with A a finite local C-algebra (analytification does not affect the set of points with values in such rings). This lemma shows that étale morphisms in algebraic geometry are a good analogue of the local isomorphisms in complex-analytic geometry. The concept of local analytic isomorphism is topological in the sense that if X is an analytic space and U X is a map of topological spaces that is a local homeomorphism, then there exists a unique structure of analytic space on U such that U X is a local analytic isomorphism. Hence, the category of analytic X-spaces U X with étale structure map is equivalent to the category of topological spaces endowed with a local homeomorphism to X; this equivalence identifies open immersion with open embeddings and analytic fiber products with topological fiber products Topological motivation for sites. Let us say that a map of topological spaces is étale if it is a local homeomorphism. Étale maps in topology are more general than open embeddings, yet for the purposes of sheaf theory it is not necessary to restrict attention to open subsets and covers by open subsets. As a warm-up to the étale topology of schemes, let us briefly consider the following definition (that will arise naturally in the comparison isomorphisms between topological and étale cohomology). Definition Let X be a topological space. The topological étale site of X consists of the following data: (1) the category Xét of étale X-spaces U X; (2) the rule τ that assigns to each U in Xét a distinguished class τ U of étale coverings: τ U is the collections of maps {f i : U i U} in Xét such that i I f i (U i ) = U. The étale coverings satisfy the properties that constitute the axioms for a Grothendieck topology on the category Xét, but rather than digress into a discussion of general sites and Grothendieck topologies (a site is a category endowed with a Grothendieck topology), we shall merely illustrate the key features in the concrete example of the topological étale site. The interested reader is referred to [6, Arcata, Ch. I] and [3, , 8.1] (and the references therein) for basic generalities concerning Grothendieck topologies and the related theory of descent. A presheaf of sets on Xét is, by definition, a contravariant functor F : Xét Set, and a morphism between presheaves of sets on Xét is (by definition) a natural transformation. The main point is that the role of overlaps in ordinary sheaf theory is replaced with fiber products: a presheaf F on Xét is a sheaf if, for all U in Xét and all coverings {U i U} in τ U, the sheaf axiom holds: the diagram of sets F (U) i F (U i ) i,i F (U i U U i ) is exact in the sense that the first map is an injection whose image consists of those I-tuples (c i ) F (U i ) such that F (pr 1 )(c i ) = F (pr 2 )(c i ) in F (U i U U i ) for all i, i I. The category of sheaves of sets on Xét is denoted Ét(X), and is called the (étale) topos on Xét ; strictly speaking, we should say that F is a sheaf on (Xét, τ) rather than on Xét, but no confusion seems likely. The category Ét(X) admits

5 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES 5 arbitrary products, has an initial object (the empty sheaf), and has a final object (the sheaf X = Hom Xét (, X) that assigns the singleton { } to all objects in Xét ). Observe that if we define the ordinary topological site by replacing étale maps with open embeddings, then the resulting category X top is (equivalent to) the category of open subsets in X, its coverings are the usual coverings of one open by others, and the resulting topos Top(X) (i.e., category of sheaves of sets on X top with respect to the specified coverings) is the usual category of sheaves of sets on the topological space X. The final and initial objects in Top(X) are described as in the case of Ét(X). Here is an important point: the categories Xét and X top are not equivalent, since objects in Xét can have non-trivial automorphisms, yet the associated categories of sheaves are the same: Lemma The categories Ét(X) and Top(X) are equivalent. Proof. We define functors in both directions and leave it to the reader to check via the sheaf axioms that these are naturally quasi-inverse to each other. For any F in Ét(X), we define a sheaf ι F on the usual topological space X by only evaluating on opens in X. If F is in Top(X), then we define ι F Ét(X) as follows: its value on any h : U X is Γ(U, h F ), where h F denotes the usual topological pullback. The global-sections functor F F (X) on Top(X) is isomorphic to the functor Hom Top(X) (X 0, ) of morphisms from the final object X 0 = Hom Xtop (, X), and the subcategory of abelian sheaves on X top is the subcategory of abelian groups in Top(X), where an abelian group in a category C admitting finite products and a final object e is an object G equipped with maps fitting into the diagrams that axiomatize a commutative group (the identity is a map e G); i.e., the functor Hom C (, G) is endowed with a structure of group-functor. We conclude that sheaf cohomology on the topological space X can be intrinsically described in terms of the category Top(X): it is the derived functor of the restriction of Hom Top(X) (X 0, ) to the subcategory of abelian groups in Top(X), where X 0 is the final object in Top(X). Since Ét(X) is equivalent to Top(X), we can therefore construct sheaf cohomology in terms of Ét(X). To be precise, the global-sections functor on Ét(X) is the functor F F (X), and this is clearly the same as the functor of morphisms from the final object X. The restriction of this functor to the category of abelian groups in Ét(X) must have sheaf-cohomology as its right derived functor via the equivalence between Ét(X) and Top(X). Even though Xét is not equivalent to X top, both sites give rise to the same theories of abelian sheaf cohomology. Hence, when considering sheaf cohomology, the category of sheaves of sets is more important than the underlying space The étale topology and étale topos on a scheme. Definition Let S be a scheme. The étale site of S consists of (1) the category Sét of étale S-schemes U S; (2) for each U in Sét, the class τ U of étale coverings: collections {f i : U i U} of (necessarily étale) maps in Sét such that the (necessarily open) subsets f i (U i ) U are a set-theoretic cover of U.

6 6 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY Definition A presheaf (of sets) F on Sét, or an étale presheaf on S, is a contravariant functor from Sét to the category Set of sets. If f : S S is a morphism in Sét and c F (S ) is an element, then we usually write c S to denote (F (f))(c) F (S ). Definition A sheaf (of sets) on the étale site of S is a presheaf F on Sét that satisfies the sheaf axiom: for S in Sét and any étale covering {S i } of S, the diagram F (S ) F (S i) F (S ii ) i (with S ii = S i S S i ) is exact in the sense that the left map is an injection onto the set of those I-tuples (c i ) F (S i ) such that c i S = c ii i S in F (S ii ii ) for all i, i I. The category of sheaves of sets on Sét is denoted Ét(S), and it is called the étale topos of S. This category admits arbitrary products, and it has both a final object (with value { } on all S Sét ) and an initial object (the functor Hom Sét (, S)). The abelian sheaves on Sét are the abelian-group objects in the étale topos; these are sheaves with values in the category of abelian groups, and this subcategory of Ét(S) is denoted Ab(S). The final object in Ab(S) is the same as the final object in Ét(S), but the initial objects are not the same. Example Let F be an object in the étale topos Ét(S). Consider the empty cover of the empty object. Since a product over an empty collection in Set is (by universality) the final object { } in Set, we conclude that F ( ) = { } and that F naturally converts disjoint unions into products. The reader who finds this reasoning too bizarre can take the condition F ( ) = { } as part of the definition of a sheaf of sets. If j : U S is an étale map, we define the functor j : Ét(S) Ét(U) to send any F in Ét(S) to the étale sheaf j F : U F (U ) on U, where an étale U-scheme U U is viewed as an étale S-scheme via composition with j. It is readily checked that j F is a sheaf on Uét, and we usually denote it F U. (i,i ) Example Let F and G be objects in Ét(S). theory, we can define a presheaf H om(f, G ) : U HomÉt(U) (F U, G U ) As in ordinary sheaf on Sét, and the sheaf axioms ensure that this is a sheaf. If F and G are abelian sheaves, then we can carry out a similar construction via U Hom Ab(U) (F U, G U ); this is also denoted H om(f, G ) when the context makes the intended meaning clear (i.e., Hom s of abelian sheaves or of sheaves of sets). Definition Let f : S S be a map of schemes. The pushforward functor f : Ét(S ) Ét(S) is (f F )(U) = F (S S U) for étale S-schemes U; the presheaf f F is a sheaf.

7 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES 7 When f : S S is étale, it is clear that there is a bifunctorial isomorphism HomÉt(S ) (f F, F ) HomÉt(S) (F, f F ), with f defined as in Example There are evident isomorphisms (f 1 f 2 ) f 1 f 2 for a composite of scheme maps f 1 and f 2, and pushforward also makes sense for sheaves of abelian groups. Observe that the forgetful functors Ét(S) Ab(S) for varying S are compatible with pullback and pushforward functors; from the viewpoint of sheaf theory, the pair of adjoint functors (f, f ) is more important than the geometric map f. Let us continue with more basic examples. Example If S = Spec k for a separably closed field k, then étale k- schemes are disjoint unions of copies of S. Thus, Sét is equivalent to the category of sets (the equivalence being defined by the connected-component functor π 0 ), and for any F in Ét(S) and any object X = i I S we have F (X) = i I F (S) = Hom Set (I, F (S)) = Hom Set (π 0 (X), F (S)). It follows that the global-sections functor F F (S) is an equivalence of categories from the étale topos on S = Spec k to the category Set of sets. An étale cover {S j S } j J is a refinement of an étale cover {S i S } i I if there exists a map t : J I and S -maps f j : S j S t(j) for all j J; if J is a finite set then this is a finite refinement. We call a choice of t and f j s a refinement map between the two covers. Example An fpqc map of schemes is a map f : T S that is faithfully flat and quasi-compact (fidèlement plat et quasi-compact); such maps are quotient maps for the Zariski topology [17, ], and an fpqc cover of S is a collection of flat quasi-compact maps f i : S i U i to Zariski-opens U i S such that any quasicompact open in S is set-theoretically covered by finitely many f i (S i ) s. Since étale maps are open, every étale cover {S i } of a quasi-compact scheme S admits a finite refinement {S j } whose constituents are quasi-compact (and even affine) schemes. It follows that any étale cover of an arbitrary scheme S admits a refinement that is also an fpqc cover. The reason for interest in fpqc covers is Grothendieck s fundamental discovery that for any S-scheme X, the functor X(T ) = Hom S (T, X) on the category of S-schemes satisfies the sheaf axioms with respect to fpqc covers of any S-scheme S [3, 8.1/1]. That is, if {T i } is an fpqc covering of an S-scheme T, the diagram of sets X(T ) X(T i ) X(T i T T i ) i (i,i ) is exact. It follows from this fact and elementary considerations with the Zariski topology that for any S-scheme X, the functor X : Sét Set is a sheaf. Such sheaves play a crucial role in étale sheaf theory. Example It is not generally true (in the non-noetherian case) that an étale cover {S i } of a quasi-compact scheme S admits a finite refinement {S j } that is fpqc and such that the overlaps S j S S j are also quasi-compact. For a counterexample, let A be a ring such that the topological space underlying Spec A is not noetherian (e.g., an infinite product of nonzero rings). As in any non-noetherian

8 8 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY topological space, there must exist an open U in Spec A that is not quasi-compact. Let S be the gluing of Spec A to itself along U, and let S 1 and S 2 be the two copies of Spec A that form a Zariski-cover of S. Suppose that the étale cover {S 1, S 2 } of S admits a finite refinement {S j } such that all S j S S j are quasi-compact. Let V 1 be the disjoint union of the S j s that factor through S 1 and let V 2 be the disjoint union of the S j s that factor through S 2 (some S j s may contribute to both V 1 and V 2 ). Since V 1 S V 2 is a finite disjoint union of quasi-compact schemes, it is quasi-compact. The refinement property implies that V i surjects onto S i, and so V 1 S V 2 surjects onto S 1 S S 2 = S 1 S 2 = U. This is inconsistent with the fact that U is not quasi-compact. By Yoneda s lemma, the functor Sét Ét(S) defined by X X = Hom S(, X) is fully faithful; sheaves arising as X for étale S-schemes X are called representable. The full-faithfulness implies that the natural map F (X) HomÉt(S) (X, F ) is bijective for all étale S-schemes X. In particular, the functor X X on Sét carries coproducts (i.e., disjoint unions) to coproducts. The full-faithfulness of X X breaks down if we consider X not étale over S (e.g., S = Spec C, X = A 1 C ). The site Sét has a final object, namely S, and its associated sheaf S evaluates to a singleton { } on all objects. Thus, we see that S is the final object in the étale topos on S. The functor HomÉt(S) (S, F ) is naturally isomorphic to the functor F F (S), and this functor is the global-sections functor. F HomÉt(S) (S, F ) = F (S) Étale sheaves and Galois modules. Let S = Spec k for a field k. For a choice of separable algebraic closure k s of k, we shall explain the functorial equivalence between the étale topos on Spec k and the category of (left) discrete Gal(k s /k)-sets. This will imply that Galois cohomology for k s /k computes sheaf cohomology on Ab(Spec k). Definition Let G be a profinite group. A (left) discrete G-set is a set M equipped with a left action of G that is continuous for the discrete topology on M and for the profinite topology on G; i.e., each m M is invariant under an open subgroup of G. If M is an abelian group and the G-action respects this structure, then M is a discrete G-module. When G is presented as a Galois group, the terminology discrete Galois-set (or discrete Galois-module) will be used. Remark The abelian category of discrete G-modules admits enough injectives, and so admits a good theory of derived functors for left-exact functors. To construct injectives, let C G and CG disc denote the categories of G-modules and discrete G-modules. The exact inclusion functor CG disc C G has a right adjoint given by discretization: for any M in C G, M disc is the G-submodule of elements in M fixed by an open subgroup of G. Since discretization has an exact left adjoint, it carries injectives to injectives; concretely, Hom (N, C disc Idisc ) = Hom CG (N, I) is G exact in the discrete N for any injective G-module I. Thus, M in CG disc embeds into the injective object I disc, where I is an injective object in C G containing M.

9 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES 9 Consider the family of functors H (G, M) = lim H (G/H, M H ), where H runs over open normal subgroups in G; this is a δ-functor in M, but the terms in the limit are generally not δ-functors in M. For such H, the functor of H-invariants carries injectives in CG disc to injectives in C G/H, and so H (G, ) is erasable. Thus, this δ-functor is the derived functor of M H 0 (G, M) = M G. We are going to prove that for a field k equipped with a choice of separable closure k s, the category of discrete Gal(k s /k)-sets is equivalent to the étale topos on Spec k, and that this equivalence identifies the functor of Gal(k s /k)-invariants with the global-sections functor. Thus, once we have set up the general definition of étale sheaf cohomology, it will follow that Galois cohomology for k s /k computes sheaf cohomology on Ab(Spec k). Let k a field, but do not yet make a choice of separable closure. Let F be an étale sheaf of sets on Spec k. Since an étale k-scheme X is a disjoint union X i, where X i = Spec k i for finite separable field extensions k i /k, the sheaf axioms imply F (X) = F (X i ) = F (Spec k i ). This allows us to focus attention on the restriction of F to the full subcategory of objects of the form Spec k for k finite and separable over k. By considering how F (Spec k ) varies functorially in the extension k /k, we will be led to a discrete Galois-set that encodes F. If g : k k is a morphism between finite separable extensions of k, then we have a morphism Spec g : Spec k Spec k in (Spec k)ét, and so there is an induced morphism of sets F (Spec g) : F (Spec k ) F (Spec k ) with F (Spec h) F (Spec g) = F (Spec(h g)) for h : k k another such map over k; the contravariance of F and Spec cancel out. We will usually write such functorial maps as F (g) instead of F (Spec g), so this notation is covariant in g. Since Spec g is a covering map, it follows from the sheaf axioms that F (g) is injective. Consider the special case when ι : k k over k is Galois. The group Gal(k /k ) = Aut(Spec k / Spec k ) opp has a natural left action on F (Spec k ), and the injective map F (ι) : F (Spec k ) F (Spec k ) is invariant for this action. To exploit this, consider the diagram Spec k Spec k Spec k Spec k Spec k with natural projections on the left. This diagram is identified with the diagram ( ) Spec k Spec k Spec k g Gal(k /k ) where the two maps on the left are the tuple of identity maps on Spec k and the map that is Spec g on the gth coordinate for all g; explicitly, this identification of

10 10 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY diagrams is obtained via the isomorphism k k k g Gal(k /k ) x y ( xg(y) ) of k -algebras, where k k k is a k -algebra via the left tensor-factor and k is a k -algebra via the diagonal action. Since we have identified ( ) with a covering diagram for an étale cover, the sheaf axioms yield an exact sequence of sets ( ) F (Spec k ) F (Spec k ) F (Spec k ) g where the top map on the left is the diagonal map s (s,..., s) and the bottom map is the action-map s (gs) g G. Thus, exactness of ( ) says that F (Spec k ) F (Spec k ) is injective and k F (Spec k ) = F (Spec k ) Gal(k /k ). Now choose a separable algebraic closure k s of k, and let Σ be the set of finite Galois extensions of k inside k s. For each k Σ, we have a set F (Spec k ) with a left action of Gal(k /k), and for k Σ containing k inside of k s we have an injection F (Spec k ) F (Spec k ) identifying F (Spec k ) with F (Spec k ) Gal(k /k ). Moreover, the map F (Spec k ) F (Spec k ) is compatible with Galois actions via the natural surjection Gal(k /k) Gal(k /k). Thus, M F = lim F (Spec k ) k Σ has a natural structure of discrete left Gal(k s /k)-set. Furthermore, the natural map F (Spec k ) M F is an isomorphism onto M Gal(ks/k ) F as Gal(k /k)-sets. This constructs the functor considered in the following theorem. Theorem The functor F M F from Ét(Spec k) to the category of discrete left Gal(k s /k)-sets is an equivalence of categories. Remark This theorem is analogous to the description of local systems via monodromy representations of fundamental groups (for reasonable topological spaces); see??. The choice of k s corresponds to the choice of a base point. Proof. Using the sheaf axioms and the fact that every finite separable extension k /k is covered by a Galois extension of k, we see that if F and G are two étale sheaves on Spec k, then to give a map F G is the same as to specify a map F (Spec k ) G (Spec k ) for all finite Galois extensions k of k with the requirement that these maps be functorial in k /k. In particular, these maps are required to be compatible with the action of Gal(k /k). We next claim that such functorial data for all finite Galois extensions of k is equivalent to specifying maps ϕ k : F (Spec k ) G (Spec k ) of Gal(k /k)-sets for each k Σ, functorially with respect to inclusions k k inside of k s. To see this equivalence, first note that for any finite Galois extension K /k we can choose a k-isomorphism σ : K k for a unique k Σ, with σ unique up to σ g σ for g Gal(k /k), and so the composite ϕ K : F (Spec K F (σ ) ) F (Spec k ) ϕ k G (Spec k G (σ ) 1 ) G (Spec K )

11 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES 11 is well-defined (i.e., independent of σ ) since G (σ ) 1 G (g) 1 ϕ k F (g) F (σ ) = G (σ ) 1 ϕ k F (σ ) by Gal(k /k)-equivariance of ϕ k. To check that K ϕ K is natural on the category of finite Galois extensions K /k, for an arbitrary k-map j : K K between finite Galois extensions of k we can find k, k Σ and an inclusion ι : k k inside of k s and k-isomorphisms σ : K k, σ : K k carrying j over to the inclusion k k. The outside edge of ( ) F (Spec K ) F (σ ) F (Spec k ) ϕ k G (Spec k G (σ ) 1 ) G (Spec K ) F (j) F (ι) G (ι) G (j) F (Spec K ) F (σ ) F (Spec k ) ϕ k G (Spec k ) G (σ ) 1 G (Spec K ) therefore commutes, since the outer squares commute (by functoriality of F and G ) and the inner square commutes (by compatibility of ϕ k, ϕ k with respect to the inclusion ι within k s ). Since the composites along the rows in ( ) are ϕ K and ϕ K respectively, we get the desired naturality of ϕ : F G. We conclude that to give a map F G as étale sheaves is the same as to give a map M F M G as discrete Gal(k s /k)-sets. That is, the functor F M F is fully faithful. Now let M be a discrete Gal(k s /k)-set. We will construct a sheaf F M on (Spec k)ét in a manner that is functorial in M, and this provides a functor in the other direction. For any abstract finite separable extension k over k, define { F M (Spec k ) = (m i ) } M m g(i) = g(m i ) for all g Gal(k s /k). i:k k s Here, i runs through the finitely many k-embeddings of k into k s. Note that m i lies in M Gal(ks/i(k )). For any k Σ, projection to the coordinate labeled by the inclusion k k s arising from membership in Σ defines a bijection F M (Spec k ) M Gal(ks/k ). For any k-embedding j : k k of finite separable extensions of k, the map ( ) F M (j) : F M (Spec k ) F M (Spec k ) defined by (F M (j)((m i ))) i = m i j is injective because every i : k k s over k does have the form i j for some i : k k s over k. When k = k is a finite Galois extension of k, then the action of Gal(k /k) on F M (Spec k ) makes the isomorphism of sets F M (Spec k ) M Gal(ks/k ) into an isomorphism of Gal(k /k)-sets. Defining F M ( Spec ki ) = FM (Spec k i ), we have defined a presheaf F M on (Spec k)ét. The presheaf F M is separated (i.e., F M (X) F M (X i ) is injective for every cover {X i } of an object X in (Spec k)ét ) because the maps ( ) are injective. To check the gluing axiom for the separated F M, it suffices to consider a cofinal system of covering situations. By connectedness considerations for the objects in our site, we are reduced to checking the gluing axiom in the case of a covering Spec k Spec k with k /k a finite Galois extension inside of k s. We just need to show that the injection F M (Spec k ) F M (Spec k ) is an isomorphism

12 12 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY onto the Gal(k /k )-invariants. This is immediate from the way that we defined F M (Spec k ) F M (Spec k ) and the fact that two k-embeddings k k s coincide on k if and only if they are related by the action of some g Gal(k /k ). We conclude that F M is a sheaf on (Spec k)ét, and we have isomorphisms F M (Spec k ) M Gal(ks/k ) for all k Σ; these isomorphisms are compatible with the action of Gal(k /k) and with the inclusions k k s as subfields of k s. We therefore have a canonical injection M FM M compatible with with Gal(k s /k)-actions. This is an isomorphism because every element of M is fixed by some Gal(k s /k ) for some finite extension k of k inside of k s. When M = M F, the above construction yields a Gal(k /k)-compatible bijection ( ) F MF (Spec k ) M Gal(ks/k ) F = F (Spec k ) for all k Σ. The sheaf axioms ensure that these bijections are compatible with inclusions inside k s, so ( ) uniquely extends to an isomorphism of sheaves F MF F. Thus, our constructions are quasi-inverse to each other. The equivalence between Ét(Spec k) and the category of discrete Gal(k s/k)-sets must carry final objects to final objects: in Ét(Spec k), the final object is the constant sheaf with value { } on all objects in (Spec k)ét ; in the category of discrete Gal(k s /k)-sets, the final object is { } with a trivial Galois-action. The functors co-represented by these objects are the global-sections functor and the functor of Galois-invariants. Restricting to the induced equivalence between the subcategories of abelian-group objects, we thereby get an equivalence between Ab(Spec k) and the abelian category of discrete Gal(k s /k)-modules such that the left-exact globalsections functor goes over to the left-exact functor of Galois-invariants. Since profinite group-cohomology for Gal(k s /k) is the derived functor of the Galois-invariants functor on the category of discrete Galois-modules (see Remark ), we get: Corollary Galois cohomology for k s /k computes the derived functor of the global-sections functor on Ab(Spec k). Corollary The functor X X is an equivalence of categories from (Spec k)ét to Ét(Spec k); that is, the category of étale k-schemes is equivalent to the étale topos on Spec k. Moreover, if k s /k is a separable closure then the discrete Galois-set associated to X is X(k s ) equipped with its usual left Galois-action. Proof. If X is a finite étale k-scheme and k s /k is a separable closure, then the sheaf X corresponds to a finite discrete Gal(k s /k)-set; this set is X(k s ) with its usual left Galois action. More generally, since any étale k-scheme is a disjoint union of finite étale k-schemes and the functor X X takes coproducts to coproducts, it follows that the discrete Gal(k s /k)-set associated to X for any étale k-scheme X is X(k s ) with its usual left Galois action. Any discrete Gal(k s /k)-set is a disjoint union of finite orbits, and an orbit with a chosen element is isomorphic to Gal(k s /k)/gal(k /k) for a unique finite extension k /k contained in k s. This is the discrete Galois set associated to X = Spec k, and so the compatibility of X X with respect to coproducts implies that every étale sheaf on Spec k is representable.

13 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES Sheafification and diagram-limits. For a general scheme S, we wish to construct operations in the étale topos Ét(S) as if it were the category of sheaves of sets on an ordinary topological space. For example, we wish to have available operations such as the image of a morphism, the quotient by an equivalence relation, and limits (both direct and inverse). Most of these constructions require the use of sheafification, and so the first issue we need to address is sheafification. Definition A sheafification of a presheaf F : Sét Set is a sheaf F + in Ét(S) equipped with a natural transformation F F + with the universal property that any natural transformation F G to a sheaf on Sét factors through a unique map F + G. The sheafification of a presheaf F on Sét may be constructed as follows. For any U in Sét and any étale cover U = {U i } of U, let H 0 (U, F ) be the set of I-tuples (s i ) F (U i ) such that s i Uij = s j Uij for all i and j, where U ij = U i U U j. If U is a refinement of U, any choice of refinement map between these covers defines a map H 0 (U, F ) H 0 (U, F ) that is independent of the choice of refinement map, and so by taking U to run over a cofinal set of étale covers of U we may form the direct limit F 0 (U) of the H 0 (U, F ) s. It is clear that U F 0 (U) is a separated presheaf and that any map F G to a sheaf uniquely factors through the evident map F F 0. Thus, to construct F + we may suppose F is separated. In this case, we apply the same process again, and if F is separated then F 0 is a sheaf. For our purposes, what matters is not the explicit construction process, but the universal property and the following properties that emerge from the construction: (1) for any s F + (U), there exists an étale cover {U i } of U and an element s i F (U i ) mapping to s Ui F + (U i ); (2) if s, t F (U) have the same image in F + (U) then there exists an étale cover {U i } of U such that s Ui = t Ui in F (U i ) for all i. In particular, if a presheaf map F G is a monomorphism in the sense that F (U) G (U) is injective for all U Sét, then F + (U) G + (U) is injective for all U. More generally, an exact diagram of presheaves of sets F F F sheafifies to an exact diagram of sheaves of sets. In Ét(S), we may use sheafification to construct the image of a map and the quotient by an equivalence relation: these are defined by sheafifying the evident settheoretic presheaf construction, exactly as in ordinary sheaf theory. The expected universal properties carry over, and a similar technique works in Ab(S) to construct images and cokernels. Here is a more subtle construction. Let j : U S be an étale morphism; we seek to construct a functor j! Set : Ét(U) Ét(S) that is left-adjoint to the restriction functor j : Ét(S) Ét(S ); i.e., HomÉt(S) (j Set! F, F ) HomÉt(U) (F, j F ), and we also want such an adjoint j! Ab between the categories Ab(U) and Ab(S). Let us first recall the analogues in ordinary sheaf theory for an open embedding j : U S. The functor j! Ab is the extension-by-zero, and the functor j! Set is the extension-by-. These are constructed by sheafifying the presheaf that sends V to F (V ) when V U and otherwise sends V to the initial object 0 (resp. ) in the

14 14 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY target category (abelian groups or sets). A uniform description that covers both cases is to say that we sheafify the presheaf V F (V f U), f Hom S (V,U) since the coproduct is taken over the singleton when V U and is taken over the empty set (and so assigns the initial object to V ) when V U. The analogous constructions in étale sheaf theory requires slightly more care than in the classical case; the extra complications are due to the fact that an étale S-scheme V may factor through j : U S in more than one way, whereas such a factorization in ordinary topology for an open embedding j is unique if it exists. Definition With notation as above, j! Set : Ét(U) Ét(S) sends F to the sheafification of the presheaf S F (S f U). f Hom S (S,U) The functor j Ab! : Ab(U) Ab(S) is defined by the same categorical operation, where coproducts are taken in the category of abelian groups (i.e., direct sums). It is straightforward to check that the functors j! Set and j! Ab are left-adjoint to j, though note that they are not compatible with the forgetful functors Ab(U) Ét(U) and Ab(S) Ét(S) because coproducts and initial objects in the category of abelian groups are not the same as in the category of sets. When the context makes the intended meaning clear, we will simply write j! to denote either functor. As a consequence of these concrete constructions, arguments as in ordinary sheaf theory prove several properties in both the étale topos Ét(S) and its subcategory of abelian groups Ab(S): the monic maps are precisely the subsheaf inclusions (and so j! Set and j! Ab carry monics to monics for any étale j); the epic maps are precisely the étale-local surjections; the epic monomorphisms are precisely the isomorphisms. In particular, Ab(S) is an abelian category. For later purposes, it is convenient to have available various kinds of limits, of a type more general than limits over directed sets. Such general limits will be used to formulate important exactness properties for pullback-functors on categories of sheaves of sets. Here are the limits we wish to consider: Definition Let C be a category, and let I be a diagram in Set with objects indexed by a set; consider I as a category. We define an I-indexed diagram D in C to be a covariant functor D : I C (this is just a diagram in C with objects indexed by ob(i) and morphisms arising functorially from those in I). An inverse limit of D is a final object in the category of pairs (L, {φ i : L D(i)} i ob(i) ) consisting of an object L in C and maps φ i such that L φi D(i) φ i D(f) D(i )

15 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES 15 commutes for all maps f : i i in I. A direct limit is an initial object among pairs (L, {φ i : D(i) L} i ob(i) ) satisfying the commutativity of diagrams D(f) φ i D(i) L φ i D(i ) for all maps f : i i in I. If the set of objects and arrows in I is finite, the corresponding inverse limit (resp. direct limit) is a finite inverse limit (resp. finite direct limit). Example If the category I is a set with only identity arrows, then an inverse limit over an I-indexed diagram is a product indexed by ob(i). The corresponding direct-limit concept is that of coproduct indexed by ob(i). Suppose I is the category on a partially ordered set (with a single arrow from i to i when i i ), and require that I be cofiltering (resp. filtering) in the sense that finite subsets have a common lower bound (resp. upper bound). In this case, the corresponding concept of inverse limit (resp. direct limit) for I-indexed diagrams on C is called a filtered inverse limit (resp. filtered direct limit). These are the limits encountered in basic algebra. Since any (small) diagram in Set is a rising union of finite diagrams, any inverse limit (resp. direct limit) can be expressed as a filtered inverse limit of finite inverse limits (resp. filtered direct limit of finite direct limits), provided finite direct and inverse limits exist in C. Consequently, considerations with limits generally reduce to two kinds: finite limits and (co)filtered limits. In general, by inducting on the size of a diagram, we see that a category admitting finite products and finite fiber products admits all finite inverse limits, and a category admitting finite coproducts and finite pushouts (the opposite of a finite fiber product) admits all finite direct limits. In an abelian category, a finite inverse limit can always be expressed as the kernel of a morphism, while a finite direct limit can always be expressed as the cokernel of a morphism. Example Let S be a scheme. The category Ét(S) admits all direct limits and all inverse limits. Indeed, the constructions on the set-theoretic level in ordinary sheaf theory carry over verbatim, using sheafification for direct limits. Definition Let C be a category admitting finite products and finite fiber products. Let φ 1, φ 2 : F F be maps in C. A diagram F ι F F resting on the φ j s such that φ 1 ι = φ 2 ι is an equalizer diagram (or an equalizer kernel) if the commutative square F ι ι F F φ F φ 1 φ 2 F F is cartesian, where φ = φ 1 ι = φ 2 ι.

16 16 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY Yoneda s lemma translates this definition as follows: for every object T of C, the induced diagram of sets Hom(T, F ) Hom(T, F ) Hom(T, F ) is exact. Equalizer diagrams in general categories play the role of left-exact sequences in abelian categories. The purpose of the preceding general nonsense is to enable us to make the following definition. Definition Let F : C C be a covariant functor between two categories that admit finite direct limits and finite inverse limits. The functor F is left exact if it commutes with formation of finite inverse limits, and it is right exact if it commutes with formation of finite direct limits. It is exact if it is both left and right exact. It is straightforward to check that a left exact functor commutes with formation of equalizer kernels, and if C and C are abelian categories then a covariant additive functor F : C C is left (resp. right) exact in the sense of the preceding definition if and only if it is exact as usually defined in the theory of abelian categories. Example The functor f : Ét(S ) Ét(S) defined by a map f : S S commutes with the formation of arbitrary inverse limits, since presheaf products and presheaf fiber-products carry sheaves to sheaves. In particular, f is left exact. When f is étale, we defined a left adjoint f : Ét(S) Ét(S ). It follows from adjointness that f must commute with arbitrary direct limits, and so is right exact. The construction of f shows that f also commutes with the formation of finite products and finite fiber products. Thus, f is exact Pullback of étale sheaves. Let f : S S be a map of schemes. Our aim is to prove that f always has a left adjoint f, and that this adjoint is exact. As in our construction of j! for an étale map j, the construction of f is more delicate than in ordinary sheaf theory because there can be more than one map between objects in Sét. To construct f and to see that it yields an exact left adjoint, we proceed in two steps. Step 1. Consider commutative diagrams of the form ( ) X X S f S with étale right side and fixed étale left side (and of course fixed bottom side). These diagrams form a category in an evident manner, and this category is cofiltered in the sense that if X admits maps φ 1 and φ 2 to étale S-schemes X 1 and X 2, then the φ j s factor through the S-map φ 1 φ 2 : X X 1 S X 2. If κ is a cardinal that bounds the number of open affines in X, then the map X X factors through an open subscheme of X that is κ-small in the sense that it can be covered (in the Zariski topology) by κ open affines. Thus, we may form the filtered direct limit of sets (f 1 F )(X S ) = lim F (X S)

17 1.1. ÉTALE SHEAVES 17 by restricting attention to κ-small X, though the choice of κ does not affect this construction. Note that two diagrams ( ) with the same right, bottom, and left sides (but different top sides) may be compatible via a non-trivial S-automorphism of X, and so there may be a non-trivial self-map on F (X S) in the formation of the above direct limit. Step 2. Observe that f 1 F is defined as a filtered direct limit, and so it is easy to check that the functor F f 1 F from Ét(S) to presheaves on S ét is compatible with the formation of finite products and fiber products. The sheafification of the presheaf f 1 F is denoted f F, and it follows that f : Ét(S) Ét(S ) commutes with formation of finite products and finite fiber products, and hence commutes with all finite inverse limits. Thus, f is a left exact functor; it is a left adjoint to f because in any diagram ( ), the map X X factors uniquely through X S S X over S S. In particular, f is exact. There are obvious concrete maps f f F F and F f f F yielding the bijection HomÉt(S ) (f F, F ) HomÉt(S) (F, f F ). Example The functor Sét Ét(S) converts base change into pullback. That is, if X S is étale then we have an equality f (X) = X S S that is natural in f and X. This follows from the equality Hom S (f X, F ) = Hom S (X, f F ) = (f F )(X) = F (X S S ) = Hom S (X S S, F ). If X is not étale over S then this calculation does not make sense and typically in such situations f X is not easily described in terms of X S S. Example Let k k be an extension of fields with compatible choices of separable closures. Let f : Spec k Spec k be the natural map. Under the equivalence between Galois-sets and étale sheaves of sets, the operation f sends a discrete Gal(k s /k)-set to a discrete Gal(k s/k )-set. via composition of the actionmap with the continuous map Gal(k s/k ) Gal(k s /k). As in ordinary sheaf theory, we may directly construct natural transformations f g (g f) that are compatible with triple composites and compatible (via adjointness) with the evident identification (f g) f g. In particular, the natural transformation f g (g f) is an isomorphism. It is an important fact (immediate from the construction) that if F is an abelian sheaf then f F is naturally an abelian sheaf, and that this defines a functor f : Ab(S) Ab(S ) that is left adjoint to the left exact f : Ab(S ) Ab(S). Moreover, because finite inverse limits of abelian groups coincide with finite inverse limits on the underlying sets, f retains its left exactness when restricted to a functor between categories of abelian sheaves. The left exactness of the rightadjoint f between abelian-sheaf categories therefore implies that f is an exact functor between abelian-sheaf categories. The exactness of f implies that its leftadjoint f carries injective abelian sheaves to injective abelian sheaves; this will underlie the construction of the Leray spectral sequence in étale cohomology.

18 18 1. ÉTALE COHOMOLOGY Example (Compatibility of extension-by-zero and pullback). Consider a cartesian diagram of schemes U f U j S f S j where j and j are étale. In both the categories of sheaves of sets and sheaves of abelian groups, there is a natural adjunction map id j j!, and so we have a natural transformation f f j j! j f j! ; by adjointness again, this gives a map ξ : j! f f j!. We claim that ξ is an isomorphism. The functors j! f and f j! are respectively left-adjoint to f j and j f, and so the canonical isomorphism between these latter two functors sets up an isomorphism of their left adjoints. This isomorphism is ξ. Remark (Topological invariance of the étale site). The étale site (and hence the étale topos) on a scheme are topological invariants in the following sense. If f : S S is radicial, integral and surjective (i.e., if it is a universal homeomorphism [17, ]), then the natural transformations id f f and f f id are isomorphisms, and so f and f are inverse equivalences between Ét(S ) and Ét(S); more generally, the functor X X S S is an equivalence between Sét and S ét. To establish such an equivalence of étale sites, we may work locally on S, so we can assume S and S are affine; since any integral ring extension is a direct limit of finite subextensions, consideration with direct limits reduces us to the case of finite radicial surjections, and this case is treated in [13, Exp. IX, 4.10]. The important special case when S is a closed subscheme in S defined by an ideal sheaf of nilpotent functions is settled in [17, ]; this allows us to harmlessly pass to underlying reduced schemes in many proofs in the étale topology. For another example, suppose k is a purely inseparable field extension of a field k (e.g., a perfect closure), and let X is a k-scheme. The categories Ét(X) and Ét(X /k ) are identified via the functors π and π, with π : X /k X the projection. In particular, étale sheaf theory on a scheme X over a field k is identified with étale sheaf theory on X /kp, where k p is a perfect closure of k Locally-constant and constructible sheaves. For a set Σ, let Σ S in Ét(S) denote the sheafification of the presheaf U Σ. Equivalently, as in ordinary sheaf theory, this is the sheaf represented by the disjoint union of copies of S indexed by Σ. In particular, if f : S S is a map of schemes then we naturally have f Σ S Σ S. For this reason, we usually write Σ rather than Σ S. An object in Ét(S) that is isomorphic to Σ for a set Σ is called a constant sheaf (or a constant sheaf on the set Σ). Definition An object F in the étale topos Ét(S) is locally constant if there exists an étale cover {S i S} i I such that each F Si is constant. If in addition the associated set over each S i is finite, then F is locally constant constructible (abbreviation: lcc).

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