Volume form

Encyclopedia

In mathematics

, a

is a nowhere-vanishing differential form

of top degree. Thus on a manifold

of the line bundle

Ω

.

A volume form provides a means to define the integral

of a function

on a differentiable manifold. In other words, a volume form gives rise to a measure

with respect to which functions can be integrated by the appropriate Lebesgue integral. The absolute value of a volume form is a volume element

, which is also known variously as a

Kähler manifold

s, being complex manifold

s, are naturally oriented, and so possess a volume form. More generally, the

is a volume form. Many classes of manifolds have canonical volume forms: they have extra structure which allows the choice of a preferred volume form. Oriented Riemannian manifold

s and pseudo-Riemannian manifold

s have an associated canonical volume form.

A volume form also allows for the specification of a preferred class of frames

on

The collection of all right-handed frames is acted upon

by the group

GL

mappings in

of the linear frame bundle of

on

Thus a volume form gives rise to an SL(

A manifold is orientable if and only if it has a volume form. Indeed, SL(

since GL

|ω| is a volume pseudo-form

on the nonoriented manifold obtained by forgetting the orientation. Densities may also be defined more generally on non-orientable manifolds.

Any volume pseudo-form ω (and therefore also any volume form) defines a measure on the Borel set

s by

The difference is that while a measure can be integrated over a (Borel)

, writing considers as a volume form, not simply a measure, and indicates "integrate over the cell with the opposite orientation, sometimes denoted ".

Further, general measures need not be continuous or smooth: they need not be defined by a volume form, or more formally, their Radon–Nikodym derivative with respect to a given volume form needn't be absolutely continuous.

of a vector field

where

along

implies

which is a generalization of the divergence theorem

.

The solenoidal vector fields are those with div

of a solenoidal vector field. Thus solenoidal vector fields are precisely those that have volume-preserving flows. This fact is well-known, for instance, in fluid mechanics

where the divergence of a velocity field measures the compressibility of a fluid, which in turn represents the extent to which volume is preserved along flows of the fluid.

, a natural volume form may be defined by translation. That is, if ω

.

(or indeed any almost symplectic manifold

) has a natural volume form. If

.

Riemannian

(or pseudo-Riemannian

) manifold

has a natural volume (or pseudo volume) form. In local coordinates

, it can be expressed as

where the are the 1-forms providing an oriented basis for the cotangent bundle

of the

of the metric tensor

on the manifold.

The volume form is denoted variously by

Here, the ∗ is the Hodge dual

, thus the last form, ∗(1), emphasizes that the volume form is the Hodge dual of the constant map on the manifold.

Although the Greek letter ω is frequently used to denote the volume form, this notation is hardly universal; the symbol ω often carries many other meanings in differential geometry (such as a symplectic form); thus, the appearance of ω in a formula does not necessarily mean that it is the volume form.

is a volume form on

In coordinates, they are both simply a non-zero function times Lebesgue measure

, and their ratio is the ratio of the functions, which is independent of choice of coordinates. Intrinsically, it is the Radon–Nikodym derivative of with respect to . On an oriented manifold, the proportionality of any two volume forms can be thought of as a geometric form of the Radon–Nikodym theorem

.

φ of

of along φ.

As a corollary, if

In one dimension, one can prove it thus:

given a volume form on , define

Then the standard Lebesgue measure

pulls back to under

In symbol, if is a homeomorphism of manifolds that pulls back to , then

and the manifolds have the same volume.

Volume forms can also be pulled back under covering map

s, in which case they multiply volume by the cardinality of the fiber (formally, by integration along the fiber). In the case of an infinite sheeted cover (such as ), a volume form on a finite volume manifold pulls back to a volume form on an infinite volume manifold.

Mathematics

Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, a

**volume form**on a differentiable manifoldDifferentiable manifold

A differentiable manifold is a type of manifold that is locally similar enough to a linear space to allow one to do calculus. Any manifold can be described by a collection of charts, also known as an atlas. One may then apply ideas from calculus while working within the individual charts, since...

is a nowhere-vanishing differential form

Differential form

In the mathematical fields of differential geometry and tensor calculus, differential forms are an approach to multivariable calculus that is independent of coordinates. Differential forms provide a better definition for integrands in calculus...

of top degree. Thus on a manifold

*M*of dimension*n*, a volume form is an*n*-form, a sectionSection (fiber bundle)

In the mathematical field of topology, a section of a fiber bundle π is a continuous right inverse of the function π...

of the line bundle

Line bundle

In mathematics, a line bundle expresses the concept of a line that varies from point to point of a space. For example a curve in the plane having a tangent line at each point determines a varying line: the tangent bundle is a way of organising these...

Ω

^{n}(*M*) = Λ^{n}(*T*^{∗}*M*), that is nowhere equal to zero. A manifold has a volume form if and only if it is orientable. An orientable manifold has infinitely many volume forms, since multiplying a volume form by a non-vanishing function yields another volume form. On non-orientable manifolds, one may instead define the weaker notion of a densityDensity on a manifold

In mathematics, and specifically differential geometry, a density is a spatially varying quantity on a differentiable manifold which can be integrated in an intrinsic manner. Abstractly, a density is a section of a certain trivial line bundle, called the density bundle...

.

A volume form provides a means to define the integral

Integral

Integration is an important concept in mathematics and, together with its inverse, differentiation, is one of the two main operations in calculus...

of a function

Function (mathematics)

In mathematics, a function associates one quantity, the argument of the function, also known as the input, with another quantity, the value of the function, also known as the output. A function assigns exactly one output to each input. The argument and the value may be real numbers, but they can...

on a differentiable manifold. In other words, a volume form gives rise to a measure

Measure (mathematics)

In mathematical analysis, a measure on a set is a systematic way to assign to each suitable subset a number, intuitively interpreted as the size of the subset. In this sense, a measure is a generalization of the concepts of length, area, and volume...

with respect to which functions can be integrated by the appropriate Lebesgue integral. The absolute value of a volume form is a volume element

Volume element

In mathematics, a volume element provides a means for integrating a function with respect to volume in various coordinate systems such as spherical coordinates and cylindrical coordinates...

, which is also known variously as a

*twisted volume form*or*pseudo-volume form*. It also defines a measure, but exists on any differentiable manifold, orientable or not.Kähler manifold

Kähler manifold

In mathematics, a Kähler manifold is a manifold with unitary structure satisfying an integrability condition.In particular, it is a Riemannian manifold, a complex manifold, and a symplectic manifold, with these three structures all mutually compatible.This threefold structure corresponds to the...

s, being complex manifold

Complex manifold

In differential geometry, a complex manifold is a manifold with an atlas of charts to the open unit disk in Cn, such that the transition maps are holomorphic....

s, are naturally oriented, and so possess a volume form. More generally, the

*n*^{th}exterior power of the symplectic form on a symplectic manifoldSymplectic manifold

In mathematics, a symplectic manifold is a smooth manifold, M, equipped with a closed nondegenerate differential 2-form, ω, called the symplectic form. The study of symplectic manifolds is called symplectic geometry or symplectic topology...

is a volume form. Many classes of manifolds have canonical volume forms: they have extra structure which allows the choice of a preferred volume form. Oriented Riemannian manifold

Riemannian manifold

In Riemannian geometry and the differential geometry of surfaces, a Riemannian manifold or Riemannian space is a real differentiable manifold M in which each tangent space is equipped with an inner product g, a Riemannian metric, which varies smoothly from point to point...

s and pseudo-Riemannian manifold

Pseudo-Riemannian manifold

In differential geometry, a pseudo-Riemannian manifold is a generalization of a Riemannian manifold. It is one of many mathematical objects named after Bernhard Riemann. The key difference between a Riemannian manifold and a pseudo-Riemannian manifold is that on a pseudo-Riemannian manifold the...

s have an associated canonical volume form.

## Orientation

A manifold is orientable if it has a coordinate atlas all of whose transition functions have positive Jacobian determinants. A selection of a maximal such atlas is an orientation on*M*. A volume form ω on*M*gives rise to an orientation in a natural way as the atlas of coordinate charts on*M*that send ω to a positive multiple of the Euclidean volume form .A volume form also allows for the specification of a preferred class of frames

Moving frame

In mathematics, a moving frame is a flexible generalization of the notion of an ordered basis of a vector space often used to study the extrinsic differential geometry of smooth manifolds embedded in a homogeneous space.-Introduction:...

on

*M*. Call a basis of tangent vectors (*X*_{1},...,*X*_{n}) right-handed ifThe collection of all right-handed frames is acted upon

Group action

In algebra and geometry, a group action is a way of describing symmetries of objects using groups. The essential elements of the object are described by a set, and the symmetries of the object are described by the symmetry group of this set, which consists of bijective transformations of the set...

by the group

Group (mathematics)

In mathematics, a group is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with an operation that combines any two of its elements to form a third element. To qualify as a group, the set and the operation must satisfy a few conditions called group axioms, namely closure, associativity, identity...

GL

^{+}(*n*) of general linearGeneral linear group

In mathematics, the general linear group of degree n is the set of n×n invertible matrices, together with the operation of ordinary matrix multiplication. This forms a group, because the product of two invertible matrices is again invertible, and the inverse of an invertible matrix is invertible...

mappings in

*n*dimensions with positive determinant. They form a principal GL^{+}(*n*) sub-bundlePrincipal bundle

In mathematics, a principal bundle is a mathematical object which formalizes some of the essential features of the Cartesian product X × G of a space X with a group G...

of the linear frame bundle of

*M*, and so the orientation associated to a volume form gives a canonical reduction of the frame bundle of*M*to a sub-bundle with structure group GL^{+}(*n*). That is to say that a volume form gives rise to GL^{+}(*n*)-structureG-structure

In differential geometry, a G-structure on an n-manifold M, for a given structure group G, is a G-subbundle of the tangent frame bundle FM of M....

on

*M*. More reduction is clearly possible by considering frames that haveThus a volume form gives rise to an SL(

*n*)-structure as well. Conversely, given an SL(*n*)-structure, one can recover a volume form by imposing for the special linear frames and then solving for the required*n*-form ω by requiring homogeneity in its arguments.A manifold is orientable if and only if it has a volume form. Indeed, SL(

*n*) → GL^{+}(*n*) is a deformation retractDeformation retract

In topology, a branch of mathematics, a retraction , as the name suggests, "retracts" an entire space into a subspace. A deformation retraction is a map which captures the idea of continuously shrinking a space into a subspace.- Retract :...

since GL

^{+}= SL ×**R**^{+}, where the positive reals are embedded as scalar matrices. Thus every GL^{+}(*n*)-structure is reducible to an SL(*n*)-structure, and GL^{+}(*n*)-structures coincide with orientations on*M*. More concretely, triviality of the determinant bundle is equivalent to orientability, and a line bundle is trivial if and only if it has a nowhere-vanishing section. Thus the existence of a volume form is equivalent to orientability.## Relation to measures

Given a volume form ω on an oriented manifold, the densityDensity on a manifold

In mathematics, and specifically differential geometry, a density is a spatially varying quantity on a differentiable manifold which can be integrated in an intrinsic manner. Abstractly, a density is a section of a certain trivial line bundle, called the density bundle...

|ω| is a volume pseudo-form

Pseudotensor

In physics and mathematics, a pseudotensor is usually a quantity that transforms like a tensor under an orientation preserving coordinate transformation , but gains an additional sign flip under an orientation reversing coordinate transformation In physics and mathematics, a pseudotensor is usually...

on the nonoriented manifold obtained by forgetting the orientation. Densities may also be defined more generally on non-orientable manifolds.

Any volume pseudo-form ω (and therefore also any volume form) defines a measure on the Borel set

Borel set

In mathematics, a Borel set is any set in a topological space that can be formed from open sets through the operations of countable union, countable intersection, and relative complement...

s by

The difference is that while a measure can be integrated over a (Borel)

*subset*, a volume form can only be integrated over an*oriented*cell. In single variable calculusCalculus

Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...

, writing considers as a volume form, not simply a measure, and indicates "integrate over the cell with the opposite orientation, sometimes denoted ".

Further, general measures need not be continuous or smooth: they need not be defined by a volume form, or more formally, their Radon–Nikodym derivative with respect to a given volume form needn't be absolutely continuous.

## Divergence

Given a volume form ω on*M*, one can define the divergenceDivergence

In vector calculus, divergence is a vector operator that measures the magnitude of a vector field's source or sink at a given point, in terms of a signed scalar. More technically, the divergence represents the volume density of the outward flux of a vector field from an infinitesimal volume around...

of a vector field

Vector field

In vector calculus, a vector field is an assignmentof a vector to each point in a subset of Euclidean space. A vector field in the plane for instance can be visualized as an arrow, with a given magnitude and direction, attached to each point in the plane...

*X*as the unique scalar-valued function, denoted by div*X*, satisfyingwhere

*L*_{X}denotes the Lie derivativeLie derivative

In mathematics, the Lie derivative , named after Sophus Lie by Władysław Ślebodziński, evaluates the change of a vector field or more generally a tensor field, along the flow of another vector field...

along

*X*. If*X*is a compactly supported vector field and*M*is a manifold with boundary, then Stokes' theoremStokes' theorem

In differential geometry, Stokes' theorem is a statement about the integration of differential forms on manifolds, which both simplifies and generalizes several theorems from vector calculus. Lord Kelvin first discovered the result and communicated it to George Stokes in July 1850...

implies

which is a generalization of the divergence theorem

Divergence theorem

In vector calculus, the divergence theorem, also known as Gauss' theorem , Ostrogradsky's theorem , or Gauss–Ostrogradsky theorem is a result that relates the flow of a vector field through a surface to the behavior of the vector field inside the surface.More precisely, the divergence theorem...

.

The solenoidal vector fields are those with div

*X*= 0. It follows from the definition of the Lie derivative that the volume form is preserved under the flowVector flow

In mathematics, the vector flow refers to a set of closely related concepts of the flow determined by a vector field. These appear in a number of different contexts, including differential topology, Riemannian geometry and Lie group theory...

of a solenoidal vector field. Thus solenoidal vector fields are precisely those that have volume-preserving flows. This fact is well-known, for instance, in fluid mechanics

Fluid mechanics

Fluid mechanics is the study of fluids and the forces on them. Fluid mechanics can be divided into fluid statics, the study of fluids at rest; fluid kinematics, the study of fluids in motion; and fluid dynamics, the study of the effect of forces on fluid motion...

where the divergence of a velocity field measures the compressibility of a fluid, which in turn represents the extent to which volume is preserved along flows of the fluid.

### Lie groups

For any Lie groupLie group

In mathematics, a Lie group is a group which is also a differentiable manifold, with the property that the group operations are compatible with the smooth structure...

, a natural volume form may be defined by translation. That is, if ω

_{e}is an element of , then a left-invariant form may be defined by , where*L*_{g}is left-translation. As a corollary, every Lie group is orientable. This volume form is unique up to a scalar, and the corresponding measure is known as the Haar measureHaar measure

In mathematical analysis, the Haar measure is a way to assign an "invariant volume" to subsets of locally compact topological groups and subsequently define an integral for functions on those groups....

.

### Symplectic manifolds

Any symplectic manifoldSymplectic manifold

In mathematics, a symplectic manifold is a smooth manifold, M, equipped with a closed nondegenerate differential 2-form, ω, called the symplectic form. The study of symplectic manifolds is called symplectic geometry or symplectic topology...

(or indeed any almost symplectic manifold

Almost symplectic manifold

In differential geometry, an almost symplectic structure on a differentiable manifold M is a two-form ω on M which is everywhere non-singular. If, in addition, ω is closed, then it is a symplectic form....

) has a natural volume form. If

*M*is a 2*n*-dimensional manifold with symplectic form ω, then ω^{n}is nowhere zero as a consequence of the nondegeneracy of the symplectic form. As a corollary, any symplectic manifold is orientable (indeed, oriented). If the manifold is both symplectic and Riemannian, then the two volume forms agree if the manifold is KählerKähler manifold

In mathematics, a Kähler manifold is a manifold with unitary structure satisfying an integrability condition.In particular, it is a Riemannian manifold, a complex manifold, and a symplectic manifold, with these three structures all mutually compatible.This threefold structure corresponds to the...

.

### Riemannian volume form

Any orientedOrientation (mathematics)

In mathematics, orientation is a notion that in two dimensions allows one to say when a cycle goes around clockwise or counterclockwise, and in three dimensions when a figure is left-handed or right-handed. In linear algebra, the notion of orientation makes sense in arbitrary dimensions...

Riemannian

Riemannian manifold

In Riemannian geometry and the differential geometry of surfaces, a Riemannian manifold or Riemannian space is a real differentiable manifold M in which each tangent space is equipped with an inner product g, a Riemannian metric, which varies smoothly from point to point...

(or pseudo-Riemannian

Pseudo-Riemannian manifold

In differential geometry, a pseudo-Riemannian manifold is a generalization of a Riemannian manifold. It is one of many mathematical objects named after Bernhard Riemann. The key difference between a Riemannian manifold and a pseudo-Riemannian manifold is that on a pseudo-Riemannian manifold the...

) manifold

Manifold

In mathematics , a manifold is a topological space that on a small enough scale resembles the Euclidean space of a specific dimension, called the dimension of the manifold....

has a natural volume (or pseudo volume) form. In local coordinates

Local coordinates

Local coordinates are measurement indices into a local coordinate system or a local coordinate space. A simple example is using house numbers to locate a house on a street; the street is a local coordinate system within a larger system composed of city townships, states, countries, etc.Local...

, it can be expressed as

where the are the 1-forms providing an oriented basis for the cotangent bundle

Cotangent bundle

In mathematics, especially differential geometry, the cotangent bundle of a smooth manifold is the vector bundle of all the cotangent spaces at every point in the manifold...

of the

*n*-dimensional manifold. Here, is the absolute value of the determinantDeterminant

In linear algebra, the determinant is a value associated with a square matrix. It can be computed from the entries of the matrix by a specific arithmetic expression, while other ways to determine its value exist as well...

of the metric tensor

Metric tensor

In the mathematical field of differential geometry, a metric tensor is a type of function defined on a manifold which takes as input a pair of tangent vectors v and w and produces a real number g in a way that generalizes many of the familiar properties of the dot product of vectors in Euclidean...

on the manifold.

The volume form is denoted variously by

Here, the ∗ is the Hodge dual

Hodge dual

In mathematics, the Hodge star operator or Hodge dual is a significant linear map introduced in general by W. V. D. Hodge. It is defined on the exterior algebra of a finite-dimensional oriented inner product space.-Dimensions and algebra:...

, thus the last form, ∗(1), emphasizes that the volume form is the Hodge dual of the constant map on the manifold.

Although the Greek letter ω is frequently used to denote the volume form, this notation is hardly universal; the symbol ω often carries many other meanings in differential geometry (such as a symplectic form); thus, the appearance of ω in a formula does not necessarily mean that it is the volume form.

## Invariants of a volume form

Volume forms are not unique; they form a torsor over non-vanishing functions on the manifold, as follows. Given a non-vanishing function*f*on*M*, and a volume form ,is a volume form on

*M*. Conversely, given two volume forms , their ratio is a non-vanishing function (positive if they define the same orientation, negative if they define opposite orientations).In coordinates, they are both simply a non-zero function times Lebesgue measure

Lebesgue measure

In measure theory, the Lebesgue measure, named after French mathematician Henri Lebesgue, is the standard way of assigning a measure to subsets of n-dimensional Euclidean space. For n = 1, 2, or 3, it coincides with the standard measure of length, area, or volume. In general, it is also called...

, and their ratio is the ratio of the functions, which is independent of choice of coordinates. Intrinsically, it is the Radon–Nikodym derivative of with respect to . On an oriented manifold, the proportionality of any two volume forms can be thought of as a geometric form of the Radon–Nikodym theorem

Radon–Nikodym theorem

In mathematics, the Radon–Nikodym theorem is a result in measure theory that states that, given a measurable space , if a σ-finite measure ν on is absolutely continuous with respect to a σ-finite measure μ on , then there is a measurable function f on X and taking values in [0,∞), such that\nu =...

.

### No local structure

A volume form on a manifold has no local structure in the sense that it is not possible on small open sets to distinguish between the given volume form and the volume form on Euclidean space . That is, for every point*p*in*M*, there is an open neighborhood*U*of*p*and a diffeomorphismDiffeomorphism

In mathematics, a diffeomorphism is an isomorphism in the category of smooth manifolds. It is an invertible function that maps one differentiable manifold to another, such that both the function and its inverse are smooth.- Definition :...

φ of

*U*onto an open set in**R**^{n}such that the volume form on*U*is the pullbackPullback

Suppose that φ:M→ N is a smooth map between smooth manifolds M and N; then there is an associated linear map from the space of 1-forms on N to the space of 1-forms on M. This linear map is known as the pullback , and is frequently denoted by φ*...

of along φ.

As a corollary, if

*M*and*N*are two manifolds, each with volume forms , then for any points , there are open neighborhoods*U*of*m*and*V*of*n*and a map such that the volume form on*N*restricted to the neighborhood*V*pulls back to volume form on*M*restricted to the neighborhood*U*: .In one dimension, one can prove it thus:

given a volume form on , define

Then the standard Lebesgue measure

Lebesgue measure

In measure theory, the Lebesgue measure, named after French mathematician Henri Lebesgue, is the standard way of assigning a measure to subsets of n-dimensional Euclidean space. For n = 1, 2, or 3, it coincides with the standard measure of length, area, or volume. In general, it is also called...

pulls back to under

*f*: . Concretely, . In higher dimensions, given any point , it has a neighborhood locally homeomorphic to , and one can apply the same procedure.### Global structure: volume

A volume form on a connected manifold*M*has a single global invariant, namely the (overall) volume (denoted ), which is invariant under volume-form preserving maps; this may be infinite, such as for Lebesgue measure on . On a disconnected manifold, the volume of each connected component is the invariant.In symbol, if is a homeomorphism of manifolds that pulls back to , then

and the manifolds have the same volume.

Volume forms can also be pulled back under covering map

Covering map

In mathematics, more specifically algebraic topology, a covering map is a continuous surjective function p from a topological space, C, to a topological space, X, such that each point in X has a neighbourhood evenly covered by p...

s, in which case they multiply volume by the cardinality of the fiber (formally, by integration along the fiber). In the case of an infinite sheeted cover (such as ), a volume form on a finite volume manifold pulls back to a volume form on an infinite volume manifold.

## See also

- Cylindrical coordinate system#Line and volume elements
- Measure (mathematics)Measure (mathematics)In mathematical analysis, a measure on a set is a systematic way to assign to each suitable subset a number, intuitively interpreted as the size of the subset. In this sense, a measure is a generalization of the concepts of length, area, and volume...
- Poincaré metricPoincaré metricIn mathematics, the Poincaré metric, named after Henri Poincaré, is the metric tensor describing a two-dimensional surface of constant negative curvature. It is the natural metric commonly used in a variety of calculations in hyperbolic geometry or Riemann surfaces.There are three equivalent...

provides a review of the volume form on the complex planeComplex planeIn mathematics, the complex plane or z-plane is a geometric representation of the complex numbers established by the real axis and the orthogonal imaginary axis... - Spherical coordinate system#Integration and differentiation in spherical coordinates