Closure (topology)

In mathematics, the closure of a subset S of points in a topological space consists of all points in S together with all limit points of S. The closure of S may equivalently be defined as the union of S and its boundary, and also as the intersection of all closed sets containing S. Intuitively, the closure can be thought of as all the points that are either in S or "near" S. A point which is in the closure of S is a point of closure of S. The notion of closure is in many ways dual to the notion of interior.

Sometimes the second or third property above is taken as the definition of the topological closure, which still make sense when applied to other types of closures (see below).[5]

Note that these properties are also satisfied if "closure", "superset", "intersection", "contains/containing", "smallest" and "closed" are replaced by "interior", "subset", "union", "contained in", "largest", and "open". For more on this matter, see closure operator below.

Consider a sphere in 3 dimensions. Implicitly there are two regions of interest created by this sphere; the sphere itself and its interior (which is called an open 3-ball). It is useful to be able to distinguish between the interior of 3-ball and the surface, so we distinguish between the open 3-ball, and the closed 3-ball – the closure of the 3-ball. The closure of the open 3-ball is the open 3-ball plus the surface.

On the set of real numbers one can put other topologies rather than the standard one.

These examples show that the closure of a set depends upon the topology of the underlying space. The last two examples are special cases of the following.

In general, the closure operator does not commute with intersections. However, in a complete metric space the following result does hold:

One may elegantly define the closure operator in terms of universal arrows, as follows.

All properties of the closure can be derived from this definition and a few properties of the above categories. Moreover, this definition makes precise the analogy between the topological closure and other types of closures (for example algebraic closure), since all are examples of universal arrows.