# Lecture 3: Flat Morphisms

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1 Lecture 3: Flat Morphisms September 29, A crash course on Properties of Schemes For more details on these properties, see [Hartshorne, II, 1-5]. 1.1 Open and Closed Subschemes If (X, O X ) is a scheme, and U X is an open set, then we say that (U, O X U) is an open subscheme of X. More generally, we say that φ : Y X is an open immersion if the image of φ is an open subset U of X, and φ : Y U is an isomorphism of schemes 1. For closed schemes, one must take care to describe the sheaf of ring, as closed subsets do not have sheaves of rings on them. Thus, we say if Z X is a closed subset, and O Z is a sheaf of rings on Z, then we say that (Z, O Z ) is a closed subscheme of X if there is an (equivalently, for every) affine open cover U α = Spec Aα of X, the map (Z U α, O Z Z U α ) U α looks like Spec A α /I Spec A α where I is an ideal of the ring A. More generally, we say that φ : Z X is a closed immersion is topologically a homeomorphism of Z with a closed subscheme of X such that the induced map on sheaves is locally like Spec A α /I Spec A α, or equivalently, the map on sheaves is surjective on stalks. 1.2 Fiber Products If X, Y are S-schemes, that is schemes with maps to a base scheme S. We say that a morphism between S-schemes is a morphism of schemes that commutes with the morphisms to S. There is a scheme X S Y with morphisms 1 In this case note that we suppress describing the sheaf of rings on U, with the understanding that its the restriction of the sheaf of rings from X. We frequently suppress the sheaf of rings when its clear from context 1

2 to X and Y which is the fiber product of X and Y over S in the category of schemes. That is, for any scheme W, the following sequence is exact: 0 Hom(W, X S Y ) Hom(W, X) Hom(W, Y ) Hom(W, S). Pictorially, we say that X S Y Y X S is a Cartesian square. For affine schemes, fiber product is dual to the tensor product so that Spec B Spec A Spec C = Spec (B A C). For more general schemes, the fiber product can be constructed by taking affine open covers and gluing. For details, see [Hartshorne, II, Thm 3.3]. If φ : Y X is a morphism of schemes, and x X then we define Y x := Y X Spec k(x). Y x i a scheme over Spec k(x) and one can show that its underlying topological space is φ 1 (y). In general, for any morphism Z X we say that φ Z : Y X Z Z is the base change of φ (resp. Y ) to φ Z (resp. Y X Z). Many properties of morphisms are preserved under base change, such as open and closed immersions. 1.3 Reduced Subscheme We say that a scheme X is reduced if each affine open subset of X (equivalently, for some affine open cover) is Spec A where A has no nilpotents. Equivalently, each stalk of X has no nilpotent elements. For any scheme X we may define associated reduced subscheme X red to be the closed subscheme localy defined by Spec A/N Spec A where N is the nilpotent ideal of A. Moreover, for each closed subset Y X there is a unique sheaf of ideals O Y on Y such that (Y, O Y ) is a reduced, closed subscheme of X. This is called the reduced, induced subscheme structure on Y. 1.4 Various Additional Properties of Morphisms of Schemes We say that φ : Y X is finite type if X may be covered by affine open sets Spec B such that each inverse image φ 1 (Spec B) can be covered by finitely many affine open sets Spec A such that A is finitely generated as a B-algebra. We say that φ is affine if each inverse image φ 1 (Spec B) is an affine open subscheme, and we say that φ is finite if each inverse image 2

3 φ 1 (Spec B) is an affine open subscheme Spec A where A is a finite B- algebra. All of these properties can be checked on an arbitrary affine open cover of X. Further, we say that a scheme X is Noetherian if X can be covered by finitely many open sets of the form Spec A where A is a Noetherian ring. We shall frequently restrict to Noetherian schemes for simplicity. 1.5 Separated and proper morphisms The category of schemes carries with it some pathologies. For instance, if we take the two schemes Spec C[x] and Spec C[y] and glue them along the open subschemes Spec C[x, 1/x] and Spec C[y, 1/y] with the isomorphism x y we get a scheme X which looks like the affine complex line A 1 C except it has two points where 0 should be. I.e. there are two maps from A 1 C which agree everywhere except at 0. We say that X is non-separated, and frequently(though not always) want to avoid this type of pathology. As with a lot of concepts about schemes, it is better to study separated morphisms rather then schemes. One reason is that you might have two nonseparated schemes, and a nice separated morphism between them. Thus, we say that Y X is separated if : Y Y X Y is a closed immersion, where represents the diagonal map correponding to the two identity maps on Y through the universal property. 2 Equivalently, in the case that Y is Noetherian, one has a nice check on whether a morphism is separated just using local rings, called the valuative criterion: Y X is separated if for each discrete valuation ring R with fraction field K, and commutative diagram Spec K Y (1) Spec R X there is at most one morphism from Spec R to Y making the diagram commute. There is a related notion of a proper morphism of schemes: we say that φ : Y X is proper if it is separated, finite type, and universally closed. That is, for any morphism Z X, the base changed map φ : Y X Z Z space. 2 A separated scheme should be thought of as being analogous to a Hausdorff topological 3

4 is closed a a map on topological sets; i.e. it maps closed sets to closed sets. 3 In the case that Y is Noetherian, one has a similar valuative criterion: for each commutative diagram as in (1), there exists a unique morphism from Spec R to Y making the diagram commute. Both proper and separated are properties that are preserved under base change. 2 Flatness We begin by studying flatness on the level of rings. 2.1 Flat modules Let R be a ring and M be a module. For every exact sequence of R modules, the complex 0 M 1 M 2 M 3 0 M 1 R M M 2 R m M 3 R M 0 is exact. Thus, we say that tensoring with M is a right exact functor from R-modules to R-modules. Definition. We say that M is a flat R-module (or M is flat over R) if tensoring with M is exact, so that for every exact sequence 0 M 1 M 2 M 3 0 of R modules, the complex 0 M 1 R M M 2 R m M 3 R M 0 is exact. Equivalently, M is flat if tensoring with M preserves injections. Some examples: For every multiplicative set S R the ring R S is flat as an R-module. If M is a flat A-module, and B is an A-algebra, then M A B is a flat B module. If M is a flat B-module, and B is a flat A-algebra, then M is a flat A-module. 3 A proper scheme (over, say, Spec C) should be thought of as being analogous to a compact Hausdorff topological space. 4

5 Combining the last two facts, we see that for every multiplicative subset S R and flat module M over R, the module M S := M R R S is flat over both R S and R. Lemma 2.1. If M is a non-zero R-module, then there exist a maximal ideal M of R such that M M is non-zero. More generally, M M M M is injective. Proof. The kernel of the natural map from M to M M is the set of elements m M whose Annihilator ideal Ann(m) := {r R rm = 0} is not contained in M. Since every proper ideal is contained in some maximal ideal, the claim follows. 2.2 Flat morphisms of Schemes Definition. A map of schemes Y X is a flat morphism if O y is flat over O f(y) for all y Y. Lemma 2.2. A map of rings f : A B is flat iff the map of schemes f # : Spec B Spec A is flat. Proof. We must show that f is flat iff for every prime P B and prime Q A such that f 1 (P ) = Q, the map A Q B P is flat. Suppose f is flat. Then for all primes Q of A, B Q is flat over A Q. Now as B P is flat over B Q, it follows that B P is flat over A Q. Conversely, suppose that the exact sequence of A-modules 0 M N is no longer exact when tensored with B. Let K be the kernel of M A B N A B. Then by lemma 2.1 there exists a prime ideal P of B such that K P 0. The claim now follows from the fact that M A B P = M AQ B P where Q is the prime ideal generate by f 1 P. 2.3 Faithful Flatness Definition. We say that M is a faithfully flat R-module (or M is faithfully flat over R) if tensoring with M is exact, so that for every complex 0 M 1 M 2 M 3 0 of R modules, it is exact iff the complex is exact. 0 M 1 R M M 2 R m M 3 R M 0 5

6 Lemma 2.3. M is faithfully flat iff it is flat and M/MM is non-zero for every maximal ideal M in A. Proof. Suppose we have a sequence of A-modules K M 1 M 2 M 3 C. This sequence remains exact after tensoring by M (since M is flat), so we see that M is faithfully flat iff N = 0 M A N = 0. Let n N be a non-zero element. This then induces an injection R/I N by sending 1 to N where I is the annihilator ideal of n in M. Since M is flat, this stays an injection after tensoring with M. Thus, we see that M is faithfully flat iff M/IM 0 for all proper ideals I. Since every proper ideal is contained in a maximal ideal, this is equivalent to the statement of the lemma. Since morphisms between schemes induce local maps of local rings on stalks, the following lemma is crucial: Lemma 2.4. A flat, local map f : A B of local rings is faithfully flat. Proof. Let M A and M B denote the maximal ideals. Suppose that M is a non-zero A-module such that M A B = 0. Pick an injection A/I M where I is a proper ideal of A. Since B is flat, it follows also that B/f(I)B = N A B = 0. However, which is a contradiction. f(i) f(m A ) M B, Theorem 2.5. A map of schemes f # : Spec B Spec A is flat and surjective iff f : A B is faithfully flat. Proof. First suppose that f # is not surjective. Let Q be a prime ideal of A above B not in the image of f #. Then it is possible to show (excercise) that f #, 1 (Q) as a set is equal to the underlying set of Spec B A k(a/qa). Thus B A k(a/qa = 0, and so f is not faithfully flat. Conversely, suppose f # is surjective. Then for every prime ideal P of A, there exist a prime ideal Q of B over P, so that f 1 (Q) = P. But then B/f(P )B surjects onto B/QB 0. Thus B is faithfully flat by lemma

7 Excercise 2.6. Prove that Open immersions are flat, compositions of flat morphisms are flat, finite flat maps are open, and flatness is preserved under base extension. 2.4 Openness of Flat maps Finally, we wish to give some properties of flat maps. First some definitions: Definition. If X is a scheme and x, y X then x is called a specialization of y if x is in the topological closure of y. Likewise, y is called a generization of x. 4 Excercises: If X = Spec A is as an affine scheme, then its points are prime ideals. Prove that P is a generization of Q iff P Q. If X is any scheme, and x X, show that there is a natural map Spec O X,x X, that on points this map is injective, and its image consists of all generizations of x. HINT: reduced to the affine case. Lemma 2.7. Let f : Y X be a flat map, such that f(y) = x. If x is a generization of x, then there exists y Y s.t. f(y ) = x. In other words, the image of a flat map is closed under generizations. Proof. Consider the diagram Spec O Y,y Spec O X,x Y X Since the map f y : Spec O Y,y Spec O X,x is dual to a local flat map, it is surjective on points by lemma 2.4 and theorem 2.5. The theorem follows by the two exercises above. For our main theorem, we shall need the following input: 4 The reason for the definition is that if X is a complex variety, then its points correspond to irreducible closed subvarieties, and under this correspondence x is a specialization of y iff the corresponding variety for x is contained in the corresponding variety for y. 7

8 Theorem 2.8. (Chevalley) Let f : Y X be a finite-type morphism of schemes, where X, Y are Noetherian. Then f(y ) is a constructible subset of X. In other words, there are finitely many pairs U i, V i of open and closed ssubets of X, such that f(y ) = i U i V i. Theorem 2.9. Let f : Y X be a flat, finite-type morphism between Noetherian schemes. Then f is open. I.e. f maps open sets to open sets. See also [Milne, Etale Cohomology, I, 2.13] for a slightly more general statement. Proof. Let W = X f(y ), and W the topological closure of W. Let (Z i ) i I be the irreducible components of W. On affine open subsets, these correspond to minimal prime ideals so each Z i has a generic point z i. Suppose that z i f(y ). Then by theorem 2.8 there is an open set U and a closed set V such that z i U V f(y ). Since V is closed it follows that V contains Z i, so wlog V = Z i. But then U 2 := U (X j i Z j ) is an open set within f(y ) containing z i. But then W X U so that W X U, which is a contradiction since z i W. Thus, we conclude that z i f(y ). Every point in W is the specialization of some z i, hence by lemma 2.7 we see that W = W and thus W is closed as desired. Excercises: Prove that if f : Y X is finite, then the image of f is closed under specialization. As an easy corollary, prove that finite maps between Noetherian schemes are proper. (In fact, one need not assume Noetherianity. See the Stacks Project, Tag 00GU: stacks.math.columbia.edu/tag/00gu). Prove that finite flat maps between Noetherian Schemes are surjective. 8

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