# Exponential map (Lie theory)

For the exponential map from a subset of the tangent space of a Riemannian manifold to the manifold, see Exponential map (Riemannian geometry).

In the theory of Lie groups, the exponential map is a map from the Lie algebra of a Lie group to the group, which allows one to recapture the local group structure from the Lie algebra. The existence of the exponential map is one of the primary justifications for the study of Lie groups at the level of Lie algebras.

The ordinary exponential function of mathematical analysis is a special case of the exponential map when is the multiplicative group of positive real numbers (whose Lie algebra is the additive group of all real numbers). The exponential map of a Lie group satisfies many properties analogous to those of the ordinary exponential function, however, it also differs in many important respects.

## Definitions

Let be a Lie group and be its Lie algebra (thought of as the tangent space to the identity element of ). The exponential map is a map which can be defined in several different ways as follows:

• It is given by where is the unique one-parameter subgroup of whose tangent vector at the identity is equal to . It follows easily from the chain rule that . The map may be constructed as the integral curve of either the right- or left-invariant vector field associated with . That the integral curve exists for all real parameters follows by right- or left-translating the solution near zero.
• It is the exponential map of a canonical left-invariant affine connection on G, such that parallel transport is given by left translation. That is, where is the unique geodesic with the initial point at the identity element and the initial velocity X (thought of as a tangent vector).
• It is the exponential map of a canonical right-invariant affine connection on G. This is usually different from the canonical left-invariant connection, but both connections have the same geodesics (orbits of 1-parameter subgroups acting by left or right multiplication) so give the same exponential map.
• If is a matrix Lie group, then the exponential map coincides with the matrix exponential and is given by the ordinary series expansion: (here is the identity matrix).
• If G is compact, it has a Riemannian metric invariant under left and right translations, and the exponential map is the exponential map of this Riemannian metric.
• The Lie group–Lie algebra correspondence also gives the definition: for X in , is the unique Lie group homomorphism correspondening to the Lie algebra homomorphism (note: .)

## Examples

• The unit circle centered at 0 in the complex plane is a Lie group (called the circle group) whose tangent space at 1 can be identified with the imaginary line in the complex plane, The exponential map for this Lie group is given by that is, the same formula as the ordinary complex exponential.
• In the split-complex number plane the imaginary line forms the Lie algebra of the unit hyperbola group since the exponential map is given by • The unit 3-sphere S3 centered at 0 in the quaternions H is a Lie group (isomorphic to the special unitary group SU(2)) whose tangent space at 1 can be identified with the space of purely imaginary quaternions, The exponential map for this Lie group in this fundamental representation is given by This map takes the 2-sphere of radius R inside the purely imaginary quaternions to , a 2-sphere of radius when . (cf. Exponential of a Pauli vector.) Compare this to the first example above.
• Let V be a finite dimensional real vector space and view it as an additive Lie group. Then via the identification of V with its tangent spaces at 0, and the exponential map is the identity map.

## Properties

• For all , the map is the unique one-parameter subgroup of whose tangent vector at the identity is . It follows that:
• • • The exponential map is a smooth map. Its derivative at the identity, , is the identity map (with the usual identifications). The exponential map, therefore, restricts to a diffeomorphism from some neighborhood of 0 in to a neighborhood of 1 in .
• The exponential map is not, however, a covering map in general – it is not a local diffeomorphism at all points. For example, so(3) to SO(3) is not a covering map; see also cut locus on this failure.
• The image of the exponential map always lies in the identity component of . When is compact, the exponential map is surjective onto the identity component.
• In general, the exponential map is surjective in the following cases: G is connected and compact, G is connected and nilpotent and .
• The image of the exponential map of the connected but non-compact group SL2(R) is not the whole group. Its image consists of C-diagonalizable matrices with eigenvalues either positive or with modulus 1, and of non-diagonalizable matrices with a repeated eigenvalue 1, and the matrix . (Thus, the image excludes matrices with real, negative eigenvalues, other than .) 
• The map is the integral curve through the identity of both the right- and left-invariant vector fields associated to .
• The integral curve through of the left-invariant vector field associated to is given by . Likewise, the integral curve through of the right-invariant vector field is given by . It follows that the flows generated by the vector fields are given by:
• • Since these flows are globally defined, every left- and right-invariant vector field on is complete.
• Let be a Lie group homomorphism and let be its derivative at the identity. Then the following diagram commutes: • In particular, when applied to the adjoint action of a group we have
• • 