Spectral presheaves as generalised (Gelfand) spectra

21 May 2013
Anreas Doering
The spectral presheaf of a nonabelian von Neumann algebra or C*-algebra was introduced as a generalised phase space for a quantum system in the so-called topos approach to quantum theory. Here, it will be shown that the spectral presheaf has many features of a spectrum of a noncommutative operator algebra (and that it can be defined for other classes of algebras as well). The main idea is that the spectrum of a nonabelian algebra may not be a set, but a presheaf or sheaf over the base category of abelian subalgebras. In general, the spectral presheaf has no points, i.e., no global sections. I will show that there is a contravariant functor from unital C*-algebras to their spectral presheaves, and that a C*-algebra is determined up to Jordan *-isomorphisms by its spectral presheaf in many cases. Moreover, time evolution of a quantum system can be described in terms of flows on the spectral presheaf, and commutators show up in a natural way. I will indicate how combining the Jordan and Lie algebra structures may lead to a full reconstruction of nonabelian C*- or von Neumann algebra from its spectral presheaf.