# Cacti with minimum, second-minimum, and third-minimum Kirchhoff indices

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1 MATHEMATICAL COMMUNICATIONS 47 Math. Commun., Vol. 15, No. 2, pp (2010) Cacti with minimum, second-minimum, and third-minimum Kirchhoff indices Hongzhuan Wang 1, Hongbo Hua 1, and Dongdong Wang 1 1 Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Huaiyin Institute of Technology, Huaian, Jiangsu-22 00, P. R. China Received February 5, 2009; accepted December 4, 2009 Abstract. Resistance distance was introduced by Klein and Randić. The Kirchhoff index Kf(G) of a graph G is the sum of resistance distances between all pairs of vertices. A graph G is called a cactus if each block of G is either an edge or a cycle. Denote by Cat(n; t) the set of connected cacti possessing n vertices and t cycles. In this paper, we give the first three smallest Kirchhoff indices among graphs in Cat(n; t), and characterize the corresponding extremal graphs as well. AMS subject classifications: 05C, 05C90 Key words: cactus, Kirchhoff index, resistance distance 1. Introduction Let G = (V (G), E(G)) be a graph whose sets of vertices and edges are V (G)= {v 1, v 2,, v n } and E(G), respectively. In 199, Klein and Randić [1] posed a new distance function named resistance distance on the basis of electrical network theory. The term resistance distance was used for the physical interpretation: one imagines unit resistors on each edge of a connected graph G with vertices v 1, v 2,, v n and takes the resistance distance between vertices v i and v j of G to be the effective resistance between vertices v i and v j, denoted by r G (v i, v j ). Recall that the conventional distance between vertices v i and v j, denoted by d G (v i, v j ), is the length of a shortest path between them and the famous Wiener index [2] is the sum of distances between all pairs of vertices; that is, W (G) = d G (v i, v j ). i<j Analogous to the Wiener index, the Kirchhoff index [] is defined as Kf(G) = i<j r G (v i, v j ). Similarly to the conventional distance, the resistance distance is also intrinsic to the graph, not only with some nice purely mathematical and physical interpretations Corresponding author. addresses: (H. Wang), (H. Hua), (D. Wang) c 2010 Department of Mathematics, University of Osijek

2 48 H. Wang, H. Hua and D. Wang [4,5], but with a substantial potential for chemical applications. In fact, for those two distance functions, the shortest-path might be imagined to be more relevant when there is corpuscular communication (along edges) between two vertices, whereas the resistance distance might be imagined to be more relevant when the communication is wave- or fluid-like. Then, that chemical communication in molecules is rather wavelike suggests the utility of this concept in chemistry. So in recent years, the resistance distance has become much studied in the chemical literature [-17]. It is found that the resistance distance is closely related with many well-known graph invariants, such as the connectivity index, the Balaban index, etc. This further suggests the resistance distance is worthy of being investigated. The resistance distance is also well studied in the mathematical literature. Much work has been done to compute the Kirchhoff index of some classes of graphs, or give bounds for the Kirchhoff index of graphs and characterize extremal graphs [10,15,18]. For instance, unicyclic graphs with the extremal Kirchhoff index are characterized and sharp bounds for the Kirchhoff index of such graphs are obtained [19]. In [20], the authors further investigated the Kirchhoff index in unicyclic graphs, and determined graphs with second- and third-minimal Kirchhoff indices as well as those graphs with second- and third-maximal Kirchhoff indices. A graph G is called a cactus if each block of G is either an edge or a cycle. Denote by Cat(n, t) the set of connected cacti possessing n vertices and t cycles. In this paper, we give the first three smallest Kirchhoff indices among graphs in Cat(n, t) and characterize the corresponding extremal graphs as well. 2. Lemmas and main results Before we state and prove our main results, we introduce some lemmas. Lemma 1 (see [7]). Let x be a cut vertex of a connected graph G and a and b vertices occurring in different components which arise upon deletion of x. Then r G (a, b) = r G (a, x) + r G (x, b). Lemma 2. Let G 1 and G 2 be connected graphs. If we identify any vertex, say x 1, of G 1 with any other vertex, say x 2, of G 2 as a new common vertex x, and we obtain a new graph G, then Kf(G) = Kf(G 1 ) + Kf(G 2 ) + n 1 Kf x2 (G 2 ) + n 2 Kf x1 (G 1 ), where Kf xi (G i ) = r Gi (x i, y i ) and n i = V (G i ) 1 for i = 1, 2. y i G i Z Z u v X u v X u X Y Y v Y Z G G 4 G 5 Figure 1.

3 Cacti with minimum, second-minimum, and third-minimum Kirchhoff indices 49 Let G, G 4 and G 5 be connected graphs as depicted in Fig. 1. By Operation I we mean the graph transformation from G to G 4, or from G to G 5. The following lemma is our main lemma, which shall play an important role in proving our main results. Lemma. Let G, G 4 and G 5 be connected graphs as depicted in Fig. 1. Then the following holds: (a) If Kf v (X) Kf u (X), then Kf(G ) > Kf(G 4 ); (b) If Kf u (X) Kf v (X), then Kf(G ) > Kf(G 5 ). Proof. By Lemmas 1 and 2, one obtains Kf(G 4 ) = Kf(X) + Kf(Y Z) + ( X 1)Kf u (Y Z) + ( Y + Z 2)Kf u (X) = Kf(X) + Kf(Y ) + Kf(Z) + ( Y 1)Kf u (Z) + ( Z 1)Kf u (Y ) +( X 1)(Kf u (Y ) + Kf u (Z)) + ( Y + Z 2)Kf u (X) = Kf(X) + Kf(Y ) + Kf(Z) + ( Y 1)Kf v (Z) + ( Z 1)Kf u (Y ) +( X 1)(Kf u (Y ) + Kf v (Z)) + ( Y + Z 2)Kf u (X), Kf(G ) = Kf(Y ) + Kf(X Z) + ( Y 1)Kf u (X Z) + (n Y )Kf u (Y ) = Kf(X) + Kf(Y ) + Kf(Z) + ( X 1)Kf v (Z) + ( Z 1)Kf v (X) +( Y 1)(Kf u (X) + Kf v (Z) + ( Z 1)r X (u, v)) + (n Y )Kf u (Y ) = Kf(X) + Kf(Y ) + Kf(Z) + ( Y 1)Kf v (Z) + ( Z 1)Kf u (Y ) +( X 1)(Kf u (Y ) + Kf v (Z)) + ( Y + Z 2)Kf u (X). Therefore, Kf(G 4 ) Kf(G ) = Y 1)Kf v (Z) + ( Z 1)Kf u (Y ) + ( X 1)Kf u (Y ) +( X 1)Kf v (Z) + ( Y + Z 2)Kf u (X) ( X 1)Kf v (Z) ( Z 1)Kf v (X) ( Y 1)Kf u (X) ( Y 1)Kf v (Z) ( Y 1)( Z 1)r X (u, v)) (n Y )Kf u (Y ) = ( Z 1)(Kf u (X) Kf v (X)) ( Y 1)( Z 1)r X (u, v). If Kf v (X) Kf u (X), it then follows from the above equation that Kf(G 4 ) Kf(G ) ( Y 1)( Z 1)r X (u, v) < 0, which proves (a). The same reasoning can be used to prove (b).

4 50 H. Wang, H. Hua and D. Wang { }} { (n 2t 1) times G 0 (n,t) Figure 2. Now, we are in a position to state and prove our main results of this paper. Theorem 1. Among all graphs in Cat(n, t) with n 1 and t 1, G 0 (n, t) is the unique graph having the minimum Kirchhoff index. Proof. Let G min be the graph in Cat(n, t) with the minimal Kirchhoff index. Our goal is to prove that G min = G 0 (n, t). By contradiction. Suppose to the contrary that G min G 0 (n, t). We first assume that G min has no cut-edges. From Lemma, all cycles in G min must share exactly one common vertex, say v. v C l H C l 1 H v G G Figure. By Operation II we mean the graph transformation from G to G. We first prove the following assertion. Assertion 1. Let G and G be two graphs as depicted in Fig.., then Kf(G ) > Kf(G ). Proof. From Lemma 2 we obtain Kf(G ) = Kf(C l ) + Kf(H) + (l 1)Kf v (H) + ( H 1)Kf v (C l ), Kf(G ) = Kf(S l 1 l ) + Kf(H) + (l 1)Kf v (H) + ( H 1)Kf v (S l 1 l ),

5 Cacti with minimum, second-minimum, and third-minimum Kirchhoff indices 51 where S l 1 l is the graph obtained from C l 1 by attaching a pendant edge to one of its vertices, C l 1 is an l 1-vertex cycle. Recall that Kf v (C l ) = (l 2 1)/ and Kf(C l ) = (l l)/(), where v is any vertex of C l. So we have Kf(G ) Kf(G ) = (l l) (l 1) (l 1) +( H 1)( l2 1 = l2 11l + = 11 (l 2 ) (l 1)2 1 + ( H 1)( 2l 7 ) 7 + (n l)(2l ). 1 (l 1)2 1 1) If n l = 0, then l 1, so Kf(G ) Kf(G 11 (1 2 ) ) > 0; If n l = 1, then l, so Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( 2 7 (l 2) If n l = 2, then l 11, so Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( If n l =, then l 10, so Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( If n l = 4, then l 9, so Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( If n l = 5, then l 8, so Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( If n l =, then l 7, so Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( If n l = 7, then l, so Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( 2 7 If n l = 8, then l 5. So Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( If n l = 9, then l 4. If l = 4, then Kf(G ) Kf(G ) = ( If l 5, then Kf(G ) Kf(G ) ( If n l 10, then Kf(G ) Kf(G ) 7 This proves the assertion ( ) > 0, because l 4. By the above Assertion, G min has no cycles of length greater than. As G min has no cut-edges and all cycles in G min must share exactly one common vertex, we have G min = G 0 (n, t) with n = 2t + 1, a contradiction to our assumption that G min G 0 (n, t). So we may suppose now that G min contains at least one cut-edge. If G min contains non-pendant cut-edges, then we can use Operation I in Fig. 1, and we shall obtain a new graph G, which is still in Cat(n, t). But by Lemma, Kf(G ) < Kf(G min ), a contradiction to the minimality of G min. So all cutedges in G min are pendant edges. Moreover, all cycles in G min share exactly one common vertex, say v, and there exists no cycle in G min of length greater than. Furthermore, all pendant edges in G min are incident to v. Thus, G min = G 0 (n, t), a contradiction once again. These contradictions force us to draw a conclusion that G min = G 0 (n, t) if G has the minimal Kf(G) value, completing the proof. Denote by C vc vc vertex of each C into a new common vertex v. the graph obtained from t copies of C by fusing one Corollary 1. For any graph G in Cat(n, t) with n 1 and t 1, Kf(G) n 2 2t 2 n + t nt with equality if and only if G = G 0 (n, t).

6 52 H. Wang, H. Hua and D. Wang Proof. According to Lemma 2, we obtain Kf(G 0 (n, t) = Kf(C vc vc ) + Kf(S n 2t ) + 2tKf v (S n 2t ) +(n 2t 1)Kf v (C vc vc ) = Kf(C vc vc ) + (n 2t 1) + 2t(n 2t 1) + 4t ( n 2t 1 (n 2t 1) Kf(C vc vc ) = Kf(C ) + Kf(C vc vc ) (t 1) times ), +2Kf v (C vc vc ) + 2Kf v (C ) (t 1) times 1t 10 = Kf(C vc vc ) +. (t 1) times Note that Kf(C ) = 2. Hence, we obtain Kf(C vc vc ) = 8t2 2t by an elementary calculation, and then Kf(G 0 (n, t)) = n 2 2t 2 n+t+2+ nt. Combining this fact and Theorem 1, we get the desired result. In the following we shall consider the cacti with the second and the third smallest Kirchhoff indices. Suppose first that G has the second smallest Kirchhoff index among all elements of Cat(n, t). Evidently, G can be changed into G 0 (n, t) by using exactly one step of Operation I or II, for otherwise, one can employ one step of Operation I or II on G, and obtain a new graph G, which is still in Cat(n, t) but not isomorphic to G 0 (n, t), which gives Kf(G) > Kf(G ) > Kf(G 0 (n, t)), t { }} { t t { }} { { }} { v 2 v 1 v 1 v 1 n 2t n 2t 2 n 2t 2 G G 7 G 8 Figure 4. contradicting our choice of G. By the above arguments, one can conclude that G must be one of the graphs G, G 7, and G 8 as shown in Fig. 4.

7 Cacti with minimum, second-minimum, and third-minimum Kirchhoff indices 5 Theorem 2. Among all graphs in Cat(n, t) with n 1 and t 1, the cactus with the second-minimum Kirchhoff index is G 8 (see Fig. 4). Proof. (i): Let H 1 denote the common subgraph of G and G 0 (n, t). Thus, we can view graphs G and G 0 (n, t) as the graphs depicted in Fig. 5. v 1 v H 1 1 H 1 G 0 (n,t) G Figure 5. Using Lemma 2, we have Kf(G 0 (n, t)) = Kf(S ) + Kf(H 1 ) + 2Kf v1 (H 1 ) + (n )Kf v1 (S ) = 4 + Kf(H 1 ) + 2Kf v1 (H 1 ) + 2(n ), Kf(G ) = Kf(P ) + Kf(H 1 ) + 2Kf v1 (H 1 ) + (n )Kf v1 (P ) = 4 + Kf(H 1 ) + 2Kf v1 (H 1 ) + (n ). Therefore, Kf(G ) = Kf(G 0 (n, t)) + (n ). (ii): Let H 2 be the common subgraph of G 7 and G 0 (n, t)(see Fig. ). Here we also let v 1 denote the unique maximum-degree vertex in G 0 (n, t). H 2 v 1 H 2 v 2 G 0 (n,t) G 7 Figure. In view of Lemma 2, Kf(G 0 (n, t)) = Kf(P 2 ) + Kf(H 2 ) + Kf v1 (H 2 ) + (n 2)Kf v1 (P 2 ) = Kf(H 2 ) + Kf v1 (H 2 ) + (n 1), Kf(G 7 ) = Kf(H 2 ) + Kf v2 (H 2 ) + (n 1) = Kf(H 2 ) + Kf v1 (H 2 ) + 2 (n 4) + (n 1).

8 54 H. Wang, H. Hua and D. Wang Therefore, Kf(G 7 ) = Kf(G 0 (n, t)) + 2 (n 4). (1) (iii): Let H be the common subgraph of G 8 and G 0 (n, t)(see Fig. 7). v 1 H C 4 H v 1 C G 8 G 0 (n,t) Figure 7. Denote by S 4 the graph obtained by attaching one pendant edge to any vertex of C. So, Kf(G 8 ) = kf(c 4 ) + Kf(H ) + Kf v1 (H ) + (n 4)Kf v1 (C 4 ), Kf(G 0 (n, t)) = Kf(S 4) + Kf(H ) + Kf v1 (H ) + (n 4)Kf v1 (S 4). Recall that Kf v1 (C 4 ) = 17, and that Kf(C 4) = 4 4 = 5, we thus have Kf(G 8 ) Kf(G 0 (n, t)) = = 2 + n 4 = n 2. + (n 4)( ) Therefore, Kf(G 8 ) = Kf(G 0 (n, t)) + n 2. By the above expressions obtained for the Kirchhoff indices of G, G 7 and G 8, we immediately have the desired result. From Theorem 2 we immediately have the following result. Corollary 2. For a graph G, not isomorphic to G 0 (n, t), in Cat(n, t) with n 1 and t 1, it holds that Kf(G) n 2 2t 2 17n + t + nt, with equality if and only if G = G 8 (see Fig.4). H 4 v H 4 v H 4 v G 7 G 9 G 10 G 0 Figure 8.

9 Cacti with minimum, second-minimum, and third-minimum Kirchhoff indices 55 t 1 { }} {... t 1 { }} {... t 2 { }} {... v... n 2t G 9 { t }} 1 {.. v... n 2t G 10 { t }} 1 {... v... n 2t G 11 v... n 2t G v... n 2t G 1 Figure 9. By the same reasonings as those used in Theorem 2, we conclude that the possible candidates having the third smallest Kirchhoff index must come from one graph of G 7, G 9 G 1 (see Fig.s 4 and 9). Theorem. Among all graphs in Cat(n, t) with n 1 and t 1, the cactus with the third-minimum Kirchhoff index is G 11 (see Fig. 9). Proof. By above discussions, we need only to determine the minimum cardinality among Kf(G 7 ), Kf(G 9 ), Kf(G 10 ), Kf(G 11 ), Kf(G ) and Kf(G 1 ). Let H 4 be the common subgraph of G 7, G 9 and G 10 (see Fig.s 4, 8 and 9). Also, we let G 0 be a subgraph of G 7 (see Fig. 8). It is now reduced to Kf(G 9 ) = Kf(S5) 4 + Kf(H 4 ) + 4Kf v (H 4 ) + (n 5)Kf v (S5) 4 = Kf(H 4) + 4Kf v (H 4 ) + 17 (n 5), 4 Kf(G 7 ) = Kf(G 0 ) + Kf(H 4 ) + 4Kf v (H 4 ) + (n 5)Kf v (G 0 ) = 40 + Kf(H 4) + 4Kf v (H 4 ) + 4(n 5), where S5 4 denotes the graph obtained by attaching one pendant edge to any vertex of C 4. Therefore, n 7 Kf(G 9 ) Kf(G 7 ) = > 0, since n 1. Furthermore, Kf(G 10 ) = Kf((S5)) 4 + Kf(H 4 ) + 4Kf v (H 4 ) + (n 5)Kf v ((S5)) 4 = Kf(H 4) + 4Kf v (H 4 ) + 9 (n 5). 2

10 5 H. Wang, H. Hua and D. Wang Therefore Then Kf(G 10 ) Kf(G 9 ) = n 5 4 > 0 (n 1). Kf(G 10 ) > Kf(G 9 ) > Kf(G 7 ) (n 1). In the following, we need only to compare G 7, G 11, G and G 1. Evidently, G 11 can be changed into G 8 by using exactly one step of Operation II. Hence, by the Assertion in Theorem 1, we have Kf(G 11 ) = Kf(G 8 ) + l2 11l + Here, l = 4 and H 1 = n 4. Therefore, Kf(G 11 ) = Kf(G 8 ) = Kf(G 8 ) + n 2 + ( H 1)( 2l 7 ). + (n 4)( ) = Kf(G 0 (n, t)) + n 4. (2) From Eqs.(1) and (2) it follows that Kf(G 11 ) Kf(G 7 ) = 1 n 4 < 0. Evidently, G can be changed into G 7 by using exactly one step of Operation II. So we have Thus Kf(G ) = Kf(G 7 ) + n 2 = Kf(G0 (n, t)) + Kf(G ) > Kf(G 7 ) > Kf(G 11 ) (n 1). 5n 28. It is obvious that G 1 can be changed into G 8 by using exactly one step of Operation II, thus by the same reasoning as above, we get Kf(G 1 ) = Kf(G 8 ) + l2 11l + Here, l = 5 and H 1 = n 5. Therefore, Kf(G 1 ) = Kf(G 8 ) = Kf(G 8 ) + n ( H 1)( 2l 7 ). + (n 5)( ) Combining this fact and the expression that Kf(G 8 ) = Kf(G 0 (n, t)) + n 2, we arrive at Kf(G 1 ) Kf(G 11 ) = 1 n 2 = n. So Kf(G 11 ) < Kf(G 1 ) for n 1. The proof of Theorem is thus completed.

11 Cacti with minimum, second-minimum, and third-minimum Kirchhoff indices 57 Corollary. For a graph G in Cat(n, t) with n 1 and t 1, not isomorphic to {G 0 (n, t), G 8 }, Kf(G) n 2 2t 2 8n + t 2 + nt with equality if and only if G = G 11 (see Fig. 9). Acknowledgement The authors would like to thank the referees for helpful suggestions. H. Hua was partially supported by Qing Lan Project of Jiangsu Province, P.R. China. References [1] D. Babić, D. J. Klein, I. Lukovits, S. Nikolić, N. Trinajstić, Resistance-distance matrix: A computational algorithm and its application, Int. J. Quantum Chem. 90(2002), [2] D. Bonchev, A. T. Balaban, X. Liu, D. J. Klein, Molecular cyclicity and centricity of polycyclic graphs. I. Cyclicity based on resistance distances or reciprocal distances, Int. J. Quantum Chem. 50(1994), [] A. A. Dobrynin, R. Entringer, I. Gutman, Wiener index of trees: theory and applications, Acta Appl. Math. (2001), [4] P. W. Fowler, Resistance distances in fullerene graphs, Croat. Chem. Acta 75(2002), [5] I. Gutman, B. Mohar, The quasi-wiener and the Kirchhoff indices coincide, J. Chem. Inf. Comput. Sci. (199), [] D. J. Klein, Graph geometry, graph metrics and Wiener, MATCH Commun. Math. Comput. Chem. 5(1997), [7] D. J. Klein, M. Randić, Resistance distance, J. Math. Chem. (199), [8] D. J. Klein, H. Y. Zhu, Distances and volumina for graphs, J. Math. Chem. 2(1998), [9] I. Lukovits, S. Nikolić, N. Trinajstić, Resistance distance in regular graphs, Int. J. Quantum Chem. 71(1999), [10] J. L. Palacios, Resistance distance in graphs and random walks, Int. J. Quantum Chem. 81(2001), 29. [11] J. L. Palacios, Closed-form formulas for Kirchhoff index, Int. J. Quantum Chem. 81(2001), [] H. Wiener, Structural determination of paraffin boiling points, J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 9(1947), [1] W. Xiao, I. Gutman, On resistance matrices, MATCH Commun. Math. Comput. Chem. 49(200), [14] W. Xiao, I. Gutman, Relation between resistance and Laplacian matrices and their application, Theor. Chem. Acta. 110(200), [15] W. Xiao, I. Gutman, Relation between resistance and Laplacian matrices and their application, MATCH Commun. Math. Comput. Chem. 51(2004), [1] Y. J. Yang, X. Y. Jiang, Unicyclic graphs with extremal Kirchhoff index, MATCH Commun. Math Comput. Chem. 0(2008), [17] W.Zhang H. Deng, The second maximal and minimal Kirchhoff indices of unicyclic graphs, MATCH Commun. Math. Comput. Chem. 1(2009), 8 95.

12 58 H. Wang, H. Hua and D. Wang [18] H. P. Zhang, Y. J. Yang, Resistance distance and Kirchhoff index in circulant graphs, Int. J. Quantum Chem. 107(2007), 0 9. [19] H. Y. Zhu, D. J. Klein, I. Lukovits, Extensions of the Wiener number, J. Chem. Inf. Comput. Sci. (199),

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