# Lifting abelian schemes: theorems of Serre-Tate and Grothendieck

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1 Lifting abelian schemes: theorems of Serre-Tate and Grothendieck Gabriel Dospinescu Remark 0.1. J ai décidé d écrire ces notes en anglais, car il y a trop d accents auxquels il faut faire gaffe... 1 The Serre-Tate theorem Let S 0 S be a nilpotent thickening of schemes (so S 0 S is a closed immersion whose ideal I is locally nilpotent). Suppose that p is a prime which is locally nilpotent on S. If X is an object over S, let X 0 be its base-change to S 0. If A/S is an abelian scheme, let A[p ] be its p-divisible group. Theorem 1.1. (Serre-Tate) a) Let A, B be abelian schemes over S and let f 0 Hom S0 (A 0, B 0 ). Then f 0 has a lifting to some f Hom S (A, B) if and only if f 0 [p ] Hom(A 0 [p ], B 0 [p ]) has a lifting to some f Hom(A[p ], B[p ]). If such liftings exist, then they are unique. b) Let A 0 /S 0 be an abelian scheme, let G/S be a p-divisible group and finally let i : A 0 [p ] G 0 be an isomorphism of p-divisible groups. Then one can find an abelian scheme A/S and an isomorphism i : A[p ] G such that (A, i) lifts (A 0, i 0 ). Moreover, the pair (A, i) is unique up to unique isomorphism. The proof will span over the next subsections. 1.2 Formal completion of fppf abelian sheaves A k-thickening of S is a closed immersion X S whose defining ideal I satisfies I k+1 = 0. Let G be an abelian fppf sheaf on a scheme S and let k 1. Define the subsheaf inf k (G) of G, whose sections over T (an S scheme) are those sections t G(T ) for which there is an fppf covering {T i T } and k-thickenings X i T i such that t = 0 on X i. Example 1.3. Let G/S be a commutative group scheme with augmentation ideal I. Descent theory allows us to see G as an abelian fppf sheaf. Then one checks (first page of chapter II of Messing s book) that inf k (G) = Spec(O G /I k+1 ). Definition 1.4. The formal completion of G is the subsheaf of G defined by Ĝ = lim inf k (G). 1

2 Example 1.5. Let A be an abelian scheme over S. Then Â is really the formal completion of A along the unit section of A and this is a formal Lie group by the usual theory of smooth group schemes (A being smooth, its completed local ring at the identity section is a formal power series ring and inherits operations via the operations on A). Theorem 1.6. (Grothendieck-Messing) Suppose that p is locally nilpotent on S and that G is a p-divisible group. Then G is formally smooth and Ĝ is a formal Lie group. Proof. This deep theorem is one of the main results of chapter II in Messing s book. Remark ) One has G = Ĝ if and only if G[p] is radicial. In this case we also say that the p-divisible group G is formal. 2) Suppose that R is a complete local noetherian ring and that A is an abelian scheme over R. Then one can easily check that Â[p n ] = A[p n ] 0, Â = A[p ] 0. Definition 1.8. An abelian fppf sheaf G on S is called almost formal if p : G G is an epimorphism and Ĝ is a formal Lie group. So, if p is locally nilpotent on S, then p-divisible groups and abelian schemes are almost formal. 1.9 Drinfeld s rigidity lemma From now on we assume, without loss of generality, that S (hence also S 0 ) is affine, say S = Spec(R) and S 0 = Spec(R 0 ). Let I be the kernel of the surjection R R 0 and assume that I N+1 = 0. Also, let k 1 be such that p k R = 0. Lemma (Drinfeld) Let G be an almost formal abelian fppf sheaf on S. Then p nk kills the kernel of the map G(A) G(A/IA) for any R-algebra A. Proof. By definition of the formal completion, any element in the kernel lies in Ĝ(A). It is thus sufficient to prove that p nk kills the kernel of Ĝ(A) Ĝ(A/IA). Pick coordinates X 1,..., X d on the formal Lie group Ĝ and let x in the kernel have coordinates x 1,..., x d. Then x i IA for all i, so that (since p k x i = 0) necessarily the coordinates of p k x live in I 2. Replacing I by any of its powers, we see that p k sends the kernel of Ĝ(A) Ĝ(A/I j A) into the kernel of Ĝ(A) Ĝ(A/Ij+1 A) for all j. Applying this N times and using I N+1 = 0 yields the result. Corollary (Drinfeld s rigidity lemma) Let G, H be almost formal abelian fppf sheaves on S. The natural map Hom S (G, H) Hom S0 (G 0, H 0 ) is injective. Proof. Since multiplication by p is an epimorphism on an almost formal group, it suffices to prove that p Nk f = 0 for any f Hom S (G, H) which dies in Hom S0 (G 0, H 0 ). But for any R-algebra A, the induced morphism f : G(A) H(A) takes values in Ker(H(A) H(A/I)), which is killed by p Nk (previous lemma). Hence p Nk kills f. 2

3 1.12 "Canonical lifting" Keep the same assumptions as in the previous section. Proposition ("canonical lifting") Let G, H be almost formal groups over R and let f 0 Hom S0 (G 0, H 0 ). There exists a unique f N Hom S (G, H) lifting p Nk f 0. Moreover, f N kills G[p Nk ] if and only if f 0 lifts to a homomorphism between G and H Proof. Define f N : G(A) H(A) (for an R-algebra A) as the composite G(A) G(A/IA) H(A/IA) H(A), where the middle map is induced by f 0 and the map on the right is p Nk s, where s is any (set-theoretical) section of the surjective map H(A) H(A/IA) (this map is onto since H is formally smooth). The resulting map f N does not depend on the choice of s by lemma By construction, the various f N defined for various A yield an fppf homomorphism lifting p Nk f 0. Let us prove the second part. First, assume that f 0 lifts to some f Hom(G, H). Then f N = p Nk f, by Drinfeld s rigidity lemma and since both of them lift p Nk f 0. Hence f N kills G[p Nk ]. Conversely, suppose that f N kills G[p Nk ]. Then we can find f Hom(G, H) such that f N = p Nk f (indeed, multiplication by p Nk induces an exact sequence of abelian fppf sheaves 0 G[p Nk ] G G 0, which allows us to define f as G G/G[p Nk ] H). It remains to check that f lifts f 0. But p Nk kills f 0 (f (mod I)) and it is immediate to see (use the same exact sequence) that this forces f 0 = (f (mod I)) Proof of Serre-Tate s theorem Let us prove 1) first. Drinfeld s rigidity lemma yields uniqueness of the liftings, in case they exist. One direction being clear, assume that f 0 [p ] lifts to a morphism g Hom(A[p ], B[p ]). Let f N Hom(A, B) be the canonical lifting of p Nk f 0. Then, by rigidity, we must have f N [p ] = p Nk g (both of them lift p Nk f 0 [p ]. Hence f N kills A[p Nk ] and so f 0 lifts to some f Hom(A, B), finishing the proof. Let us prove 2) now. See the next section for a proof (in a special case, which is however enough for most applications, including what we need for local Langlands) of the following wonderful: Theorem (Grothendieck) If A 0 /S 0 is an abelian scheme, then there exists an abelian scheme A/S whose base-change to S 0 is A 0. So, take an abelian scheme X/S such that X 0 A 0. This yields an isomorphism (which abusively will also be called) i 0 : (X[p ]) 0 G 0. Let i N : X[p ] G be the canonical lifting of p Nk i 0 and let j N : G X[p ] be the canonical lifting of p Nk i 1 0. Then, by rigidity, we must have i N j N = p 2Nk and j N i N = p 2Nk. Hence i N is an isogeny and its kernel K is a finite subgroup of X[p 2Nk ]. We claim that K is flat over R (hence a finite locally free subgroup of X). By base-change, it suffices to prove that i N 3

4 is flat. This follows from the fibre-by-fibre criterion of flatness, the fact that S 0 S has nilpotent ideal of definition and the fact that the base-change to S 0 of i N is p Nk i 0 (hence flat). This proves the claim. Now, standard results about quotients of group schemes (SGA3) show that A = X/K is an abelian scheme over S. By contruction, it satisfies all desired properties. Uniqueness follows from rigidity. 2 Grothendieck s theorem on abelian schemes I will make some extra-assumptions, which will be sufficient for our purposes. Actually, I think that with very mild extra-work we can get rid of them, but I m lazy to do that... Hence, we assume in this section that R is a local artinian ring with maximal ideal m and residue field k = R/m. Let R 0 = R/I, where I is an ideal killed by m (in particular I 2 = 0). It is easy to see that if R is artin local, then any surjection R R 0 (for some other artin local ring R 0 ) is a composite of finitely many extensions of the previous form (also called small extensions, following Schlessinger). The purpose of this section is to prove the following beautiful theorem: Theorem 2.1. (Grothendieck) Under the previous assumptions, any abelian scheme over R 0 lifts to an abelian scheme over R. Here are the main steps: 1) Deformation theory of smooth schemes combined with basic facts about cohomology of abelian schemes (most importantly the fact that the relative tangent sheaf is trivial) will show that any abelian scheme A 0 /R 0 lifts to a smooth scheme A/R. Moreover, the identity section of A 0 lifts to a section of A. 2) One proves that ANY such smooth scheme A/R endowed with a section lifting the identity section of A 0 must be an abelian scheme. This is actually the nicest part of the proof. All this needs some preliminaries Obstructions to lifting smooth schemes Here we let S 0 S be any closed immersion of schemes, whose ideal I satisfies I 2 = 0 (of course, we will then specialize to S 0 = Spec(R 0 ), etc). Let X 0 /S 0 be a smooth scheme. A deformation of X 0 to S will be a pair consisting of a flat scheme X/S and an isomorphism i : X S0 X 0 (subscript S 0 means base change). There is an obvious notion of isomorphism of deformations. Note that any such deformation X/S has to be smooth (exercise: use fibre criterion). Let T X0 /S 0 = Hom(Ω 1 X 0 /S 0, O X0 ) be the relative tangent sheaf of X 0. Since X 0 /S 0 is smooth, Ω 1 X 0 /S 0 is a locally free O X0 -module, hence so is T X0 /S 0. We will see I as an O X0 -module by pullback via the structure morphism X 0 S 0. 4

5 Theorem 2.3. a) There is an obstruction o(x 0 ) H 2 (X 0, I T X0 /S 0 ), which vanishes if and only if there is at least one deformation of X 0 to S. b) If o(x 0 ) = 0, then the set of isomorphism classes of deformations of X 0 to S is a principal homogenous space under H 1 (X 0, I T X0 /S 0 ). This theorem is actually "easy", but the proof is rather painful to write down. The reader should see Illusie s lecture notes on FGA, or chapter IV in SGA1 (suitably adapted to this more general setup). Corollary 2.4. If X 0 /S 0 is etale, then there is a unique (up to unique isomorphism) deformation of X 0 to S and this deformation is etale over S. Proof. In this case T X0 /S 0 = 0, so everything is clear. The previous theorem will not be enough to show that abelian schemes over S 0 lift to smooth schemes over S. A key role will be played by the functorial properties of the obstruction: Proposition ) Suppose that f 0 : X 0 Y 0 is an S 0 -morphism of smooth S 0 - schemes. Then f 0 induces two natural maps H 2 (X 0, I T X0 /S 0 ) H 2 (X 0, I f0 T Y 0 /S 0 ) and H 2 (Y 0, I T Y0 /S 0 ) H 2 (X 0, I f0 T Y 0 /S 0 ). The images of o(x 0 ) and o(y 0 ) in H 2 (X 0, I f0 T Y 0 /S 0 ) (via these maps) are the same. 2) Let Y 0 be a smooth S 0 scheme and let pr 1 be the natural projection X 0 S0 Y 0 X 0. Then pr 1 induces a map H 2 (X 0, I T X0 /S 0 ) H 2 (X 0 S0 Y 0, I pr 1T X0 /S 0 ) H 2 (X 0 S0 Y 0, I T X0 S0 Y 0 /S 0 ) and we have an equality o(x 0 S0 Y 0 ) = pr 1(o(X 0 )) + pr 2(o(Y 0 )). Proof. Easy, once you understood the proof of the previous theorem Lifting abelian schemes to smooth schemes Keep the initial assumptions (so R 0 is artin local, I is killed by m). Proposition 2.7. Let A 0 be an abelian scheme over R 0. Then A 0 lifts to a smooth scheme A over R. Proof. We need to prove that o(a 0 ) = 0. Let B 0 = A 0 S0 A 0, an abelian scheme over S 0 = Spec(R 0 ). The two projections B 0 A 0 induce maps pr j : H2 (A 0, I T A0 /S 0 ) H 2 (B 0, I T B0 /S 0 ) and o(b 0 ) = pr 1 (o(a 0)) + pr 2 (o(a 0)). A first key point is that pr j are injective. This follows from the fact that the tangent sheaf of an abelian scheme is trivial (ie T A0 /S 0 = O A0 H 0 (A 0, T A0 /S 0 ), from Kunneth s formula and the fact that Lie B0 /S 0 = Lie A0 /S 0 Lie A0 /S 0. This allows us to see H 2 (A 0, I T A0 /S 0 ) as a direct factor of H 2 (B 0, I T B0 /S 0 ) and the inclusions of this direct factor turn out to be the maps pr j (by abstract nonsense...). 5

6 Next, consider the automorphism α(x, y) = (x + y, y) of B 0 /S 0. This induces an automorphism α of H 2 (B 0, I T B0 /S 0 ) and by functoriality of obstructions we can write o(b 0 ) = α (o(b 0 )) = α (pr 1(o(A 0 )) + pr 2(o(A 0 ))) = pr 1(o(A 0 )) + 2pr 2(o(A 0 )). Hence pr 2 (o(a 0)) = 0. The previous paragraph shows that o(a 0 ) = 0, hence we are done. 2.8 Lifting the identity section of A 0 Since A/S is smooth, the identity section e 0 of A 0 /S 0 lifts to a section e of A/S. Also, note that A/S is proper. 2.9 Any such A is an abelian scheme Proposition Let A/S be a proper deformation of A 0, having a section e which lifts e 0. Then A/S is an abelian scheme. Proof. Let B 0 = A 0 S0 A 0 and let d 0 : B 0 A 0 be the morphism (x, y) x y. We will prove that d 0 lifts uniquely to an S-morphism d such that d(e, e) = e. This will endow A/S with addition and inversion and we will finally check that these operations satisfy the necessary compatibilities to ensure that A/S is an abelian scheme. With the same arguments as those used to lift schemes, one checks that the obstruction to lifting d 0 to a morphism of S-schemes B A (here B = A S A) lives in H 1 (B 0, I d 0 T A 0 /S 0 ). Note that I is a finite dimensional k-vector space and that d 0 induces the identity on the first factor A 0 of B 0. Hence H 1 (B 0, I d 0T A0 /S 0 ) H 1 (B 0, O B0 ) k Lie A0 /S 0 k I (pr 1H 1 (A 0, O A0 ) Lie A0 /S 0 I) (pr 2H 1 (A 0, O A0 ) Lie A0 /S 0 I), the last isomorphism coming from Kunneth s formula. We will prove that the projections of o(d 0 ) on these two direct factors are zero, which will show that o(d 0 ) = 0 and so that d 0 lifts. Let i 1 : A 0 B 0 be the map x (x, e 0 ) and let i 2 : A 0 B 0 be the map x (x, x). Note that both maps d 0 i 1 and d 0 i 2 lift to A (simply take the identity, respectively e). Hence i 1 (o(d 0)) = 0 and i 2 (o(d 0)) = 0. But since pr 1 i 1 = id and pr 2 i 2 = id, it is easy to see that this implies pr 1 (o(d 0)) = 0 and pr 2 (o(d 0)) = 0, hence o(d 0 ) = 0. We claim that there is a unique lifting d : B A of d 0 such that d(e, e) = e. The set of isomorphism classes of liftings of d 0 is a principal homogeneous space under H 0 (B 0, d 0 T A 0 /S 0 ) k I Lie A0 /S 0 k I. The restrictions of the liftings of d 0 to (e, e) form a principal homogeneous space under H 0 (S 0, (d 0 (e0,e 0 )) T A0 /S 0 ) k I Lie A0 /S 0 k I, hence the result. 6

7 This special lift d of d 0 allows us to define addition and inverse on A, via the usual formulae. It remains to check that A/S becomes an abelian scheme when endowed with these operations. This comes down to checking a whole series of identities, all of which have the following form: we are given a morphism of S-schemes f : A S A S... S A A such that f(e, e,..., e) = e and which is trivial modulo I (since we know that A 0 /S 0 is an abelian scheme). We need to prove that f is trivial. The following rigidity lemma of Mumford shows that one can find a section s : S A such that f is the composite A S A S A... S A S A (the first map being the structural morphism). The condition f(e, e,..., e) = e implies that s = e and the result follows. Theorem (Mumford s rigidity lemma) Suppose that f : X Y is a morphism of S schemes with S connected, π : X S being flat, closed and such that O S π O X. Suppose that π : X S has a section and that there is s S such that f(x s ) has one element. Then one can find a section s of the structural morphism Y S such that f = s π. 7

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