K3 surface

A smooth quartic surface in 3-space. The figure shows part of the real points (of real dimension 2) in a certain complex K3 surface (of complex dimension 2, hence real dimension 4).

Dans la seconde partie de mon rapport, il s'agit des variétés kählériennes dites K3, ainsi nommées en l'honneur de Kummer, Kähler, Kodaira et de la belle montagne K2 au Cachemire.

In the second part of my report, we deal with the Kähler varieties known as K3, named in honor of Kummer, Kähler, Kodaira and of the beautiful mountain K2 in Kashmir.

André Weil (1958, p. 546), describing the reason for the name "K3 surface"

In mathematics, a complex analytic K3 surface is a compact connected complex manifold of dimension 2 with trivial canonical bundle and irregularity zero. An (algebraic) K3 surface over any field means a smooth proper geometrically connected algebraic surface that satisfies the same conditions. In the Enriques–Kodaira classification of surfaces, K3 surfaces form one of the four classes of minimal surfaces of Kodaira dimension zero. A simple example is the Fermat quartic surface

Together with two-dimensional compact complex tori, K3 surfaces are the Calabi–Yau manifolds (and also the hyperkähler manifolds) of dimension two. As such, they are at the center of the classification of algebraic surfaces, between the positively curved del Pezzo surfaces (which are easy to classify) and the negatively curved surfaces of general type (which are essentially unclassifiable). K3 surfaces can be considered the simplest algebraic varieties whose structure does not reduce to curves or abelian varieties, and yet where a substantial understanding is possible. A complex K3 surface has real dimension 4, and it plays an important role in the study of smooth 4-manifolds. K3 surfaces have been applied to Kac–Moody algebras, mirror symmetry and string theory.

It can be useful to think of complex algebraic K3 surfaces as part of the broader family of complex analytic K3 surfaces. Many other types of algebraic varieties do not have such non-algebraic deformations.

There are several equivalent ways to define K3 surfaces. The only compact complex surfaces with trivial canonical bundle are K3 surfaces and compact complex tori, and so one can add any condition excluding the latter to define K3 surfaces. For example, it is equivalent to define a complex analytic K3 surface as a simply connected compact complex manifold of dimension 2 with a nowhere-vanishing holomorphic 2-form. (The latter condition says exactly that the canonical bundle is trivial.)

There are also some variants of the definition. Over the complex numbers, some authors consider only the algebraic K3 surfaces. (An algebraic K3 surface is automatically projective.[1]) Or one may allow K3 surfaces to have du Val singularities (the canonical singularities of dimension 2), rather than being smooth.

As a result, the arithmetic genus (or holomorphic Euler characteristic) of X is:

The Picard group Pic(X) of a complex analytic K3 surface X means the abelian group of complex analytic line bundles on X. For an algebraic K3 surface, Pic(X) means the group of algebraic line bundles on X. The two definitions agree for a complex algebraic K3 surface, by Jean-Pierre Serre's GAGA theorem.

In contrast to positively curved varieties such as del Pezzo surfaces, a complex algebraic K3 surface X is not uniruled; that is, it is not covered by a continuous family of rational curves. On the other hand, in contrast to negatively curved varieties such as surfaces of general type, X contains a large discrete set of rational curves (possibly singular). In particular, Fedor Bogomolov and David Mumford showed that every curve on X is linearly equivalent to a positive linear combination of rational curves.[15]

The period mapping sends a K3 surface to its Hodge structure. When stated carefully, the Torelli theorem holds: a K3 surface is determined by its Hodge structure. The period domain is defined as the 20-dimensional complex manifold

Under these assumptions, L is basepoint-free. In characteristic zero, Bertini's theorem implies that there is a smooth curve C in the linear system |L|. All such curves have genus g, which explains why (X,L) is said to have genus g.

K3 surfaces appear almost ubiquitously in string duality and provide an important tool for the understanding of it. String compactifications on these surfaces are not trivial, yet they are simple enough to analyze most of their properties in detail. The type IIA string, the type IIB string, the E8×E8 heterotic string, the Spin(32)/Z2 heterotic string, and M-theory are related by compactification on a K3 surface. For example, the Type IIA string compactified on a K3 surface is equivalent to the heterotic string compactified on a 4-torus (Aspinwall (1996)).

André Weil (1958) gave K3 surfaces their name (see the quotation above) and made several influential conjectures about their classification. Kunihiko Kodaira completed the basic theory around 1960, in particular making the first systematic study of complex analytic K3 surfaces which are not algebraic. He showed that any two complex analytic K3 surfaces are deformation-equivalent and hence diffeomorphic, which was new even for algebraic K3 surfaces. An important later advance was the proof of the Torelli theorem for complex algebraic K3 surfaces by Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro and Igor Shafarevich (1971), extended to complex analytic K3 surfaces by Daniel Burns and Michael Rapoport (1975).