# NOTES ON FLAT MORPHISMS AND THE FPQC TOPOLOGY

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1 NOTES ON FLAT MORPHISMS AND THE FPQC TOPOLOGY RUNE HAUGSENG The aim of these notes is to define flat and faithfully flat morphisms and review some of their important properties, and to define the fpqc and fppf topologies on schemes over a base scheme. In section 1 we assemble, without any proofs, various properties of flat and faithfully flat morphisms from [Vak06a, Vak06b], [Vis08], [Har77], [EH00] and [Eis95]. Section 2 then defines the fppf and fpqc topologies and states some results about the fpqc topology without proof, following [Vis08]. Note that we will, unfortunately, consider schemes to be locally ringed spaces that are locally affine, rather than functors from rings to sets. 1. Flat and Faithfully Flat Morphisms 1.1. Definitions and Basic Properties. We begin with the algebraic definition of flatness: Definition 1.1. We say that an A-module M is flat if for every short exact sequence 0 N N N 0 of A-modules, tensoring with M gives an exact sequence 0 M A N M A N M A N 0, i.e. M A is an exact functor. Equivalently, since M A is always right-exact, M A preserves injectivity. Since Tor A(M, ) is the left derived functor of M A, it is also equivalent to say that Tor A 1 (M, N) = 0 for all A-modules N. Lemma 1.2. An A-module M is flat if and only if for every prime ideal p of A, the localization M p is a flat A p -module. Definition 1.3. A morphism of commutative rings f : A B is flat if the induced A-module structure on B makes B a flat A-module. Next, we extend this to schemes as follows: Definition 1.4. A morphism of schemes f : X Y is flat if for every x X, the stalk O X,x is a flat O Y,f(x) -module. Equivalently (by lemma 1.2), for every open affine U Y and every open affine V f 1 (U), the restricted map V U corresponds to a flat ring homomorphism O Y (U) O X (V ). Definition 1.5. A quasicoherent sheaf F on X is flat if for every x X, F x is a flat O X,x -module, and more generally for f : X Y we say that F is flat over Y if for every x X, F x is a flat O Y,f(x) -module. Lemma 1.6. Open immersions are flat, composites of flat morphisms are flat, and pullbacks of flat morphisms are flat. Date: March 15,

2 2 RUNE HAUGSENG Definition 1.7. A morphism of schemes is faithfully flat if it is flat and surjective. A homomorphism of rings A B is faithfully flat if the corresponding morphism of schemes Spec B Spec A is faithfully flat. Faithful flatness for affine schemes can also be characterized algebraically: Lemma 1.8. The following are equivalent for an A-algebra B: (i) B is faithfully flat over A. (ii) A sequence of A-modules is exact if and only if the corresponding sequence of B-modules obtained by applying B A is exact. (iii) An A-module homomorphism M N is injective if and only if B A M B A N is injective. (iv) B is flat over A, and if M is an A-module satisfying M A B = 0 then M = 0. (v) B is flat over A, and mb B for all maximal ideals m of A. Question 1.9. I think we can define flat morphisms of Z-functors as follows: a morphism of Z-functors f : X Y is flat if for every morphism Spec R Y and every morphism from an affine scheme Spec S to the pullback X Y Spec R, the composite Spec S Spec R corresponds to a flat ring homomorphism R S Algebraic Properties of Flatness. Theorem M is flat if and only if Tor A 1 (M, A/I) = 0 for all finitely generated ideals I of A. Proof. See [Eis95, p. 163]. Theorem A coherent module over a Noetherian local ring is flat if and only if it is free. Corollary A coherent sheaf over a locally Noetherian scheme is flat if and only if it is locally free Topological Properties of Flatness. With some additional hypotheses, a flat morphism behaves well topologically. One possible requirement is that the morphism be locally of finite presentation: Definition An A-algebra B is finitely presented if it is the quotient of a polynomial ring over A with finitely many generators by a finitely generated ideal. Definition A morphism of schemes f : X Y is locally of finite presentation if for every x X there are affine open neighbourhoods U Y of f(x) and V f 1 (U) of x such that O X (V ) is finitely presented over O Y (U). Proposition A flat morphism that is locally of finite presentation is open. Alternatively, we get a weaker conclusion if the morphism is flat, surjective and quasicompact: Definition A morphism of schemes is quasicompact if the inverse image of any quasicompact open set is quasicompact. Proposition If f : X Y is a faithfully flat and quasicompact morphism of schemes, then U Y is open in Y if and only if f 1 (U) is open in X, i.e. the topology of Y is induced from that of X via f Flat Families. Flat morphisms are a good notion of continuously varying families of schemes their fibres are related, as the following results illustrate:

3 NOTES ON FLAT MORPHISMS AND THE FPQC TOPOLOGY 3 Proposition A finite morphism of schemes f : X Y, where Y is an integral scheme, is flat if and only if dim κ(y) f (O X ) y κ(y) is constant with respect to y Y. Theorem Suppose f : X Y is a projective morphism with Y locally Noetherian, and F is a coherent sheaf on X with f F flat over Y. Then the Euler characteristic of F Xy, where X y is the fibre of f over y Y, is locally constant with respect to y. Corollary If f : X Y is a flat projective morphism with Y locally Noetherian then the Euler characteristic of O X Xy is locally constant with respect to y Y. If Y is also integral then this is also a sufficient criterion for flatness. Proposition Suppose f : X Y is a flat morphism of schemes of finite type over a field. Then for any y Y and x X y, we have dim O X,x = dim O Xy,x + dim O Y,y Flat Limits. For a flat family of projective schemes over a nice punctured curve we can take the limit and obtain a unique flat family over the entire curve. This is a corollary of the following characterization of flatness over a curve: Proposition Suppose f : X Y is a morphism of schemes with Y integral, regular, and of dimension 1. Then f is flat if and only if every associated point of X, meaning a point x X such that the maximal ideal m X,x O X,x consists of zero divisors, maps to the generic point of Y. Corollary Suppose Y is a regular integral scheme of dimension 1 and X is a closed subscheme of P n Y \{p} = Pn Spec Z Y \ {p}, where p is a closed point of Y, such that X is flat over Y \ {p}. Then there exists a unique closed subscheme X of P n Y that is flat over Y, such that X P n Y \{p} = X. (This does not work in higher dimensions.) 2. The fpqc and fppf Topologies The definition of the fppf topology is straightforward: Definition 2.1. The fppf topology on Sch /S is defined as follows: the coverings of X S are collections U i X of flat maps locally of finite presentation over S such that i U i X is surjective as a map of sets. To define the fpqc topology, we first introduce the concept of an fpqc morphism, following Vistoli [Vis08, section 2.3]. We begin with the following lemma: Lemma 2.2. The following are equivalent for a surjective morphism of schemes f : X Y : (i) Every quasicompact open subset of Y is the image of a quasicompact open subset of X. (ii) Y has an open affine cover each element of which is the image of a quasicompact open subset of X. (iii) Every point x X has an open neighbourhood U such that f(u) is open in Y and the restriction f U : U f(u) is a quasicompact morphism. (iv) Every point of X has a quasicompact open neighbourhood whose image in Y is open and affine.

4 4 RUNE HAUGSENG Definition 2.3. A morphism of schemes is fpqc if it is faithfully flat and satisfies the equivalent conditions of the preceding lemma. fpqc morphisms have the following nice properties: (i) The composite of fpqc morphisms is fpqc. (ii) If f : X Y is a morphism and {V i } is an open cover of Y such that f f 1 (V i) : f 1 (V i ) V i are fpqc, then f is fpqc. (iii) Open faithfully flat morphisms are fpqc. (iv) Faithfully flat morphisms locally of finite presentation are fpqc. (v) Any base change of an fpqc morphism is fpqc (vi) If f : X Y is fpqc then a subset U of Y is open if and only if f 1 (U) is open in X. Definition 2.4. The fpqc topology on Sch /S is defined as follows: the coverings of X S are collections U i X of morphisms such that i U i X is fpqc. Lemma 2.5. The fpqc topology is a Grothendieck topology, i.e.: (i) If f : X Y is an isomorphism over S then {f : X Y } is a cover. (ii) If {U i Y } is a cover and X Y is a morphism over S, then {U i Y X X} is a cover. (iii) If {U i X} is a cover and {V ij U i } are covers, then {V ij U i X} is a cover. Proof. (i) An isomorphism of schemes is fpqc. (ii) Follows from (v) above. (iii) Follows from (i) and (ii) above. Remark. It is possible to define a topology on Sch /S by taking covers of X S to be collections of morphisms U i X such that i U i X is faithfully flat and quasicompact. However, not only does this not include the Zariski open covers, it is not even subcanonical. Remark. By (iv) above, fppf covers are fpqc covers. Since étale covers are fppf covers and Zariski covers are étale covers, it follows that the fpqc topology is finer than all of these. Remark. Goerss [Goe] has a different (but hopefully equivalent) definition: He defines an fpqc cover of an affine scheme U to be a finite collection {U i U} of flat morphisms with i U i U surjective, and in general an fpqc cover of a scheme X to be a finite collection of morphisms {V i X} such that for every open affine U X the pullback {V i X U U} is an fpqc cover of U. (Why only finite covers?) Many properties of morphisms of schemes are local in the fpqc topology: Proposition 2.6. Suppose f : X Y is a morphism of schemes and {U i Y } is an fpqc cover. If for all i, U i Y X U i is separated, quasicompact, locally of finite presentation, proper, affine, finite, flat, smooth, unramified, étale, an embedding, or a closed embedding, then so is f. This follows from the local nature of these properties, plus the following familiar result:

5 NOTES ON FLAT MORPHISMS AND THE FPQC TOPOLOGY 5 Proposition 2.7. Suppose we have a pullback diagram of schemes X Y Z f Z g g X f Y where f is faithfully flat and either quasicompact or locally of finite presentation. Then g is separated, quasicompact, locally of finite presentation, proper, affine, finite, flat, smooth, unramified, étale, an embedding, or a closed embedding if g is. Theorem 2.8. A representable functor Sch op /S Set is a sheaf in the fpqc topology, i.e. the fpqc topology is subcanonical. It follows that the fppf and étale topologies are also subcanonical, since they are coarser than the fpqc topology. This is proved in [Vis08] using the following criterion: Proposition 2.9. Suppose a presheaf F on Sch /S is a Zariski sheaf and that for V U any faithfully flat morphism of affine schemes over S F(U) F(V ) F(V U V ) is an equalizer diagram. Then F is an fpqc sheaf. References [Vak06a] Ravi Vakil, Foundations of algebraic geometry classes 41 and 42 (2006), available at [Vak06b], Foundations of algebraic geometry classes 43 and 44 (2006), available at http: //math.stanford.edu/~vakil/ /. [Vis08] Angelo Vistoli, Notes on Grothendieck topologies, fibered categories and descent theory (2008), available at [Har77] Robin Hartshorne, Algebraic geometry, Springer-Verlag, New York, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, No. 52. [EH00] David Eisenbud and Joe Harris, The geometry of schemes, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, vol. 197, Springer-Verlag, New York, [Eis95] David Eisenbud, Commutative algebra with a view toward algebraic geometry, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, vol. 150, Springer-Verlag, New York, [Goe] Paul G. Goerss, Quasi-coherent sheaves on the moduli stack of formal groups, available at Department of Mathematics, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA address: URL:

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