# FORMAL GLUEING OF MODULE CATEGORIES

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1 FORMAL GLUEING OF MODULE CATEGORIES BHARGAV BHATT Fix a noetherian scheme X, and a closed subscheme Z with complement U. Our goal is to explain a result of Artin that describes how coherent sheaves on X can be constructed (uniquely) from coherent sheaves on the formal completion of X along Z, and those on U with a suitable compatibility on the overlap. In fact, the main result is a general (i.e., non-noetherian) local version, which we will state once we have the following definition in place. Definition 0.1. Given a ring A and an element f A, a ring map φ : A B is said to be f-adically faithfully flat if φ is flat, and φ/f : A/fA B/fB is faithfully flat. The map φ : A B is said to be an f-adic neighbourhood if it is f-adically faithfully flat, and the induced map A/fA B/fB is an isomorphism. We let Mod(A) denote the abelian category of A-modules over a ring A, while Mod fg (A) denotes the subcategory of finitely generated A-modules. The main result is: Theorem 0.2. Let A be a ring, and let f A. Let φ : A B be an f-adic neighbourhood. Then the natural map is an equivalence. F : Mod(A) Mod(A f ) Mod(Bf ) Mod(B) The category Mod(A f ) Mod(Bf ) Mod(B) appearing on the right side of the expression in Theorem 0.2 is the category of triples (M 1, M 2, ψ) where M 1 is an A f -module, M 2 is a B-module, and ψ : M 1 Af B f M 2 B B f is a B f -isomorphism. The natural map referred to in Theorem 0.2 is defined by F(M) = (M f,, can) where can : M f Af B f B B f is the natural isomorphism. We generally refer to objects of this category as glueing data. The motivation behind this terminology is topological and explained in Remark 0.5. A useful special case of Theorem 0.2 is when A is noetherian, and B is a completion of A at an element f. The completion A B is flat by basic theorems in noetherian ring theory, and the functor M M A B can be identified with the f-adic completion functor when M is finitely generated. Thus, we obtain: Corollary 0.3. Let A be a noetherian ring, let f A be an element, and let Â be the f-adic completion of A. Then the obvious functors (localisation and completion) define an equivalence Mod fg (A) Mod fg (A f ) Modfg (Âf ) Modfg(Â) Remark 0.4. The equivalence of Theorem 0.2 preserves the obvious -structure on either side. Thus, it defines equivalences of various categories built out of the pair (Mod(A), ), such as the category of A-algebras. Remark 0.5. Theorem 0.2 may be regarded as an algebraic analogue of the following trivial theorem from topology: given a manifold X with a closed submanifold Z having complement U, specifying a sheaf on X is the same as specifying a sheaf on U, a sheaf on an unspecified tubular neighbourhood T of Z in X, and an isomorphism between the two resulting sheaves along T U. The lack of tubular neighbourhoods in algebraic geometry forces us to work with formal neighbourhoods instead, rendering the proof a little more complicated. Remark 0.6. We suspect that Theorem 0.2 follows formally from the existence of a good model structure for the flat topology. Specifically, if one has a model structure where open immersions are cofibrations, then the square Spec(B f ) Spec(B) Spec(A f ) Spec(A) will be a homotopy pushout square. Evaluating the fpqc-stack Mod( ) on this pushout diagram would then allow us to deduce Theorem 0.2 from usual fpqc-descent. 1

2 Fix a ring A and an element f. 1. GENERALITIES Definition 1.1. An A-module M said to be an f -torsion A-module if for each m M, there exists an n > 0 such that f n m = 0. The full subcategory of Mod(A) spanned by f -torsion modules is denoted Mod(A)[f ], while the subcategory spanned by f n -torsion modules is denoted Mod(A)[f n ]. We first reformulate the definition of f-adic faithful flatness in terms of the category Mod(A)[f ]. Lemma 1.2. Fix a ring map φ : A B. Then the following are equivalent (1) The map φ is f-adically faithfully flat. (2) The map φ is flat, and the map Spec(B/fB) Spec(A/fA) is surjective. (3) The map φ is flat, and the functor M M A B is faithful on Mod(A)[f]. (4) The map φ is flat, and the functor M M A B is faithful on Mod(A)[f ]. Proof. (1) and (2) being equivalent is standard, while the equivalence of either with (3) follows by identifying f-torsion A-modules with A/f-modules, and using that M A B = M A/f A/f A B = M A/f B/fB for f-torsion A-modules M. The rest follows by devissage and the fact that M M A B commutes with filtered colimits and is exact. Next, we prove a series of lemmas which tell us that the category Mod(A)[f ] is insensitive to passing to an f-adic neighbourhood. First, we need a nice presentation. Lemma 1.3. Any module M Mod(A)[f ] admits a resolution K M with each K i a direct sum of copies of A/f n for n variable. Proof. For any M Mod(A)[f ], there is a canonical surjection m M A/f nm M 0 where n m is the smallest positive integer such that f nm m = 0. The kernel of the preceding surjection is also an f -torsion module. Proceeding inductively, we construct a canonical resolution of M by A-modules which are direct sums of copies of A/f n for variable n, as desired. Next, we show that passing to f-adic neighbourhoods does not change f -torsion modules. Lemma 1.4. Let φ : A B be an f-adic neighbourhood. For any module M Mod(A)[f ], the natural map M M A B is an isomorphism. Proof. First assume that M Mod(A)[f]. In this case, M is an A/f-module. Hence, we have an isomorphism M A B M A/f B/fB M A/fA A/fA M proving the claim. The general case follows by devissage. Indeed, using the isomorphism A/fA B/fB and the flatness of A B, one shows that A/f n A B/f n B for all n 0. By the same argument as above, it follows that for any A/f n -module M, the natural map M M A B is bijective. Since any M Mod(A)[f ] can be written as a filtered colimit of A/f n -modules for variable n, the claim follows from the fact that tensor products commute with colimits. We can now show that the category Mod(A)[f ] does not change on passing to an f-adic neighbourhood. Lemma 1.5. Let φ : A B be an f-adic neighbourhood. Then the functor M M A B defines an equivalence Mod(A)[f ] Mod(B)[f ]. Proof. We first show full faithfulness. In fact, we will show that the natural map Hom A (M, N) Hom B (, N B ) 2

3 is an isomorphism if M or N is f -torsion. When M is finitely presented, this follows from Lemma 1.4 once we observe that the formation of Hom A (M, N) commutes with flat base change on A. In general, we write M as a filtered colimit colim i M i where each M i is finitely presented, and then use the following sequence of isomorphisms: Hom A (M, N) = Hom A (colim i M i, N) = lim i Hom A (M i, N) = lim i Hom B (M i,b, N B ) = Hom B (colim i M i,b, N B ) = Hom B (, N B ) where the third equality uses the finitely presented case, while the last one uses the commutativity of M M A B with filtered colimits. In particular, the functor Mod(A)[f ] Mod(B)[f ] is fully faithful. For essential surjectivity, we simply note that for any N Mod(B)[f ], the natural map N A B N is an isomorphism by Lemma 1.4, We can improve on the full faithfulness of Lemma 1.5 by showing that Ext-groups whose source lies in Mod(A)[f ] are insensitive to passing to f-adic neighbourhoods as well. Lemma 1.6. Given M Mod(A)[f ] and N Mod(A), the natural map is an isomorphism for all i. Ext i A(M, N) Ext i B(, N B ) Proof. We prove the statement by induction on i. The case i = 0 was proven in the course of Lemma 1.5. For larger i, using Lemma 1.3, one can immediately reduce to the case that M = A/f n for suitable n. In this case, we argue using a dimension shifting argument; the failure of f to be regular element of A forces us to introduce some derived notation. Let K denote the two-term complex A f n A. In the derived category D(Mod(A)), there is an exact triangle of the form K A/f n [ 1] A[f n ][1] K[1] where A[f n ] is kernel of multiplication by f n on A. Applying Ext i (, N) then gives us a long exact sequence... Ext i 1 A (A[f n ], N) Ext i+1 A (A/f n, N) Ext i A(K, N)... Induction on i then reduces us to verifying that Ext i A(K, N) Ext i B(K B, N B ) for all i. The definition of K gives us an exact triangle A[ 1] K A δ A where the boundary map δ is identified with f n, up to a sign. Using the projectivity of A, we see that Ext i A(K, N) = 0 for i > 1, and for i 1 there is a short exact sequence Hence, we may identify 0 Ext 0 A(K, N) Hom(A, N) f n Hom(A, N) Ext 1 A(K, N) 0. Ext 0 A(K, N) = N[f n ] and Ext 1 A(K, N) = N/f n N. The formation of the groups Ext i A(K, N) clearly commutes with base changing along A B. On the other hand, since M M A B for any f n -torsion A-module (see Lemma 1.4), the right hand side of the preceding equalities does not change on base changing along A B. Thus, it follows that as desired. Ext i A(K, N) Ext i B(K B, N B ) Lastly, we prove a couple of facts concerning the behaviour of f-torsionfree modules. Lemma 1.7. Let M be an A-module without f-torsion, and let φ : A B be an f-adically flat ring map. An element m M is divisible by f in the A-module M if and only if the same is true for m 1 M A B in the B-module M A B. 3

4 Proof. By hypothesis, there is a short exact sequence 0 M f M M/fM 0. Assume m M is not divisible by f. Thus, the corresponding element in M/fM is not zero. By the faithful flatness of A/fA B/fB, the resulting elemnt of M/fM A B M A B/f(M A B) is also non-zero, which implies the result. Lemma 1.8. Let M be an A-module without f-torsion. Then the natural map M M f is injective. Proof. The kernel of M M f is spanned by elements m M satisfying f n m = 0 for some n > 0. The hypothesis on M and an easy induction on n imply that m = THE FULL FAITHFULNESS In this section, we establish the full faithfulness of the functor F of Theorem 0.2. Like in the previous section, we fix the ring A and the element f under consideration. First, we show that an object in Mod(A)[f ] is determined by the glueing data it determines. Lemma 2.1. Let M be an f -torsion A-module. Let φ : A B be an f-adic neighbourhood. Then the natural map M M f MBf is an isomorphism. Proof. The hypothesis implies that M f = f Lemma 1.4. = 0. It then suffices to check that M, which follows from Next, we show that an f-torsionfree module is determined by the glueing data it determines. Lemma 2.2. Let M be an A-module without f-torsion, and let φ : A B be an f-adically faithfully flat ring map. Then the natural map is an isomorphism. M M f MBf Proof. As M has no f-torsion, the same is true for M A B. Thus, the vertical maps in the diagram M M f f are injective. We may therefore view M as being an A-submodule of M f, and similarly for. It follows then that the map M M f MBf is injective. For surjectivity, let (x, y) M f MBf be an element. Then there exists an n such that f n x = m M. The image of m in agrees with f n y as both these elements have the same image in f. Thus, the element m is divisible by f n in. By Lemma 1.7, the element m M is divisible by f n in M itself. Thus, we may write m = f n x. Since f acts invertibly on M f, it follows that x = x M f, and thus the element x M f actually comes from M. One can then easily check that the image of x = x in agrees with y (as the same is true in f ). Thus, the element x M maps to (x, y) as desired. Combining the previous two cases, we verify that arbitrary modules are determined by their glueing data. Lemma 2.3. Let M be an A-module, and let φ : A B be an f-adic neighbourhood. Then the natural map M M f MBf is an isomorphism. 4

5 Proof. Given an A-module M, let T M denote its f -torsion. Then we have an exact sequence 0 T M N 0 with N = M/T without f-torsion. It is also easy to see that the functor M M f MBf is left exact, i.e., preserves finite limits. Thus, we may apply it to the preceding short exact sequence to obtain a commutative diagram 0 T M a 0 T f TBf T B M f MBf N f NBf N B with exact rows. The map a is an isomorphism by Lemma 2.1, while the map c is an isomorphism by Lemma 2.2. An easy diagram chase then shows that b is also an isomorphism, as desired. Using the preceding results, we can prove the full faithfulness of F. Lemma 2.4. Let M and N be two A-modules, and let φ : A B be an f-adic neighbourhood. The natural map a : Hom A (M, N) Hom Af (M f, N f ) HomBf (f,n Bf ) Hom B (, N B ) is an isomorphism. Thus, the functor F is fully faithful. Proof. The injectivity of a immediately follows from Lemma 2.3. Conversely, given maps g f : M f N f and g B : N B defining the same map over B f, we obtain an induced map g : M N via Lemma 2.3. Subtracting the map g induces from g f and g B, we may assume that both g f and g B induce the 0 map M N. It suffices to show that in this case g f and g B are both 0. However, this is clear since both M f and are generated by M. b N c 0 3. ESSENTIAL SURJECTIVITY We first recall the general definition of a fibre product of categories. Definition 3.1. Given a diagram A B of categories, we define the fibre product A C B to be the category of tripes (a, b, f) where a A, b B, and f is an isomorphism in C between the images of a and b; morphisms are defined in the obvious way. Remark 3.2. In the situation considered above, the fibre product A C B inherits properties as well as structures present on A, B, and C that are preserved by the functors. For example, if all three categories are abelian -categories with the functors being exact and -preserving, then the fibre product A C B also inherits the structure of an abelian -category; this will be the case in the example we consider. We place ourselves back in the situation of Theorem 0.2, i.e., we fix a ring A, an element f A, and an f-adic neighbourhood φ : A B. Since both B and A f are flat A-algebras, the fibre product Mod(A f ) Mod(Bf ) Mod(B) is an abelian category with a natural -structure. Moreover, base changing defines the functor F : Mod(A) Mod(A f ) Mod(Bf ) Mod(B) which is easily checked to preserve the -structure. We will show that F is an equivalence; the full faithfulness was established in Lemma 2.4. First, we show that F has nice cocontinuity properties. Lemma 3.3. The functor F is exact and commutes with arbitrary colimits. Proof. The exactness follows from the A-flatness of A f and B, while the cocontinuity is a general fact about tensor products. Next, we verify that objects in the category of glueing data admit a nice presentation in terms of actual A-modules. 5 C

6 Lemma 3.4. Given an object (M 1, M 2, ψ) Mod(A f ) Mod(Bf )Mod(B), there exists a A-module P, an f -torsion A-module Q, and a right exact sequence in the category Mod(A f ) Mod(Bf ) Mod(B). F(P ) (M 1, M 2, ψ) F(Q) 0 Proof. Let (M 1, M 2, ψ) be as above. For an x M 1, let n x be the minimal positive integer such that the image of f nx x in M 1 Af B f M 2 B B f lifts to an element y x in M 2. The choice of such a lift y x defines a morphism F(A) (M 1, M 2, ψ) via f nx x on the first factor, and y x on the second factor. Thus, after fixing a lift y x of f nx x for each x M 1, we obtain a morphism x M1 F(A) T (M 1, M 2, ψ). The first component of this map is surjective because f is a unit in M 1. Thus, the cokernel is of the form (0, Q, 0) for some Q Mod(B). Moreover, since Q B B f = 0, we have Q Mod(B)[f ]. By Lemma 1.5, it follows that (0, Q, 0) F(Q) where second term is defined by viewing Q as an A-module in the obvious way. Thus, we obtain an exact sequence x M1 F(A) T (M 1, M 2, ψ) F(Q) 0. Since the functor F commutes with colimits (see Lemma 3.3), we can absorb the coproduct on the left to rewrite the above sequence as F(P ) (M 1, M 2, ψ) F(Q) 0 with P Mod(A), and Q Mod(A)[f ] as desired. We need the following abstract fact about abelian categories to finish the proof. Lemma 3.5. Let F : A B be an exact fully faithful functor between abelian categories A and B, and let A A be a full abelian subcategory of A. Assume that F induces an isomorphism Ext 1 A(a 1, a 2 ) Ext 1 B(F (a 1 ), F (a 2 )) when a 1 A and a 2 A (where the Ext groups being considered are the Yoneda ones). Further, assume that for every object b B, there exist objects a A, and a A A, and a right exact sequence Then F is an equivalence. F (a) b F (a ) 0. Proof. It suffices to show that F is essentially surjective. Given b 0 B, choose a 0 A and a 0 A and an exact sequence 0 b 1 F (a 0 ) b 0 F (a 0) 0 where b 1 B is the kernel of F (a 0 ) b 0. Applying the same procedure to b 1, we can find a 1 A, a 1 A, and an exact sequence F (a 1 ) b 1 F (a 1) 0. Since the map b 1 F (a 0 ) b 0 is 0, the same is true for the map F (a 1 ) b 1 F (a 0 ) b 0. Thus, we obtain a sequence F (a 1) = b 1 /F (a 1 ) F (a 0 )/im(f (a 1 )) b 0 F (a 0) 0. The object F (a 0 )/im(f (a 1 )) is isomorphic to an object of the form F (a 2 ) for some a 2 A as the functor F is fully faithful and exact. Thus, we may rewrite the above sequence as F (a 1) F (a 2 ) b 0 F (a 0) 0. The same reasoning as above shows that F (a 2 )/im(f (a 1)) is isomorphic to an object of the form F (a 3 ) for some a 3 A. Thus, we obtain a short exact sequence 0 F (a 3 ) b 0 F (a 0) 0 which realises b 0 as an extension of F (a 0) by F (a 3 ). Since a 0 A, we know that all such extensions lie in the essential image of F by assumption. Thus, so does b 0, as desired. We now observe that the proof is complete. Proof of Theorem 0.2. Theorem 0.2 follows formally from Lemma 3.5, Lemma 3.4, Lemma 2.4, and Lemma

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