### K-spectral sets and the holomorphic functional calculus

#### by Orr Shalit

In two previous posts I discussed the holomorphic functional calculus as part of a standard course in functional analysis (lectures notes 18 and 19). In this post I wish to discuss a slightly different approach, which relies also on the notion of K-spectral sets, and relies a little less on contour integration of Banach-space valued functions.

In my very personal opinion this approach is a little more natural then the standard one, and it would be even more natural if one was able to altogether remove the dependence on Banach-space valued integrals (unfortunately, right now I don’t know how to do this completely).

#### 1. K-spectral sets

Throughout this post denotes a Banach algebra with a normalized unit, and is a fixed element of . If we denote by the (analytic) rational functions with poles off . If is a continuous function on then we denote .

**Definition 1:** *Let** be a compact set such that and let be positive number. is said to be a* **K-spectral set for **

*if for every the following inequality holds:*

In this definition it is important that we know how to define when . Since , we know how to do this by the functional calculus. However, one does not need the elaborate machinary of the functional calculus, since there is a natural interpretation of for every (see Sections 2 and 3 in Notes #18). One way is to simply plug in the partial fraction decomposition of . Another, perhaps even more natural way, is to write , where has no zeros in , and define (this definition is legal since for every polynomial , it holds that ).

**Remark: **The interested reader might want to look at this extensive survey on K-spectral sets. If the constant can be chosen to be , then is simply called a **spectral set** for . Spectral sets happen to be one of my research interests, I referred to the notion in a previous post.

**Theorem 2: ***For every bounded open set containing , its closure is a K-spectral set for some . In other words, the functional calculus ** is a bounded map from to . *

**Remark:** In the theorem, denotes the algebra of functions analytic in some neighborhood of , and we equip it with the sup norm (on ) which makes it into a normed space (which is not complete).

* ***Proof:** This follows from item (5) in the main theorem on the holomorphic functional calculus (see Section 1, Notes 19). Indeed, the functional calculus is a linear map, and a linear map between normed spaces is continuous if and only if it is bounded (no harm is caused by the fact is not complete).

Thus, we see that every neighborhood of the spectrum is a K-spectral set. Below we will show how to define the analytic functional calculus, using the rational functional calculus and assuming that every neighborhood is a K-spectral set. If one was able to prove that the rational functional calculus is bounded (i.e., that the closure of every bounded open neighborhood of is a K-spectral set for some ) without using Cauchy integrals, then one would have a way to define the analytic functional calculus without using Banach-space valued integrals. I believe (a belief that is based only on a hunch and not on historical documents or something like that) that this (the construction of a natural analytic functional calculus without recourse to integration) was the reason why von Neumann introduced spectral sets in the first place.

#### 2. Definition of the holomorphic functional calculus via K-spectral sets

**Lemma 3:** *The rational functional calculus given for by is a well defined homomorphism from into .*

**Remark:** In writing we are assuming that and are polynomials such that has no roots on .

**Proof:** Suppose that . Then , thus , since the polynomial functional calculus (see Section 2 in Notes 18) is obviously a well defined homomorphism. But then we get , and this means that gets the same value, no matter how we represented it as a quotient of two polynomials.

Once it has been shown that the mapping is well defined, it follows easily from algebraic manipulations that it is a homomorphism.

To define the analytic functional calculus, we need Runge’s Theorem from the theory of analytic functions of one complex variable (we use a simpler version than the version appearing in the linked Wikipedia article).

**Theorem 4 (Runge’s Theorem):** *Let be a compact set, and suppose that , that is, is analytic in some open neighborhood of . Then there is a sequence of rational functions with poles off such that *

.

Now using Runge’s Theorem and the rational functional calculus, and **assuming that every neighborhood of is a K-spectral set for **, we define the analytic functional calculus as follows:

Let . Then there is some open neighborhood such that . One may find another bounded open set containing such that . By assumption, is a K-spectral set for , where is some positive real constant. By Runge’s theorem, there is a sequence that converges uniformly to on . Therefore, is a Cauchy sequence in the sup norm. Since is a K-spectral set, , thus is a Cauchy sequence in the Banach space . Define to be the limit of the sequence .

**Exercise A: **Show that the mapping is well defined; that is, does not depend on the choice of sequence of rational functions converging uniformly to , nor on the open sets and appearing in the above paragraph, but only on the function itself.

#### 3. Some properties of the functional calculus

Under the assumption that every bounded neighborhood of the spectrum is a K-spectral set (for some ) the functional calculus constructed above can be shown to have all the nice properties of the functional calculus constructed in the last two lectures (of course it has the same properties, since it is the same functional calculus).

Compare the following proof with the proof of Section 3 in the last lecture.

**Proposition 5 (the functional calculus is a homomorphism):** *If , then . *

**Proof:** Let be an open set where both and are analytic. Let be a bounded open set containing such that , and let and be sequences of rational functions with poles off that converge uniformly to and , respectively. Then converges to uniformly on . Thus, using the fact that the rational functional calculus is a homomorphism, we find

as required (don’t forget the one also needs to show linearity, but it is a simple matter and we omit it).

We now prove another property of the functional calculus. We did not prove it in the previous lectures (it was given in the homework exercises – see Exercise 7 here). We will assume the Spectral Mapping Theorem (Property 4 of the functional calculus from the previous lecture), which says that if , then

**Proposition 6:** *Let . Let and let . Then and *

*(**) . *

**Proof:** That is elementary, and is left to the reader. The fact that holds for rational functions (with poles in the right places) follows easily from the well definedness of the rational functional calculus.

We now show that formula (**) holds . Some care is needed to do this right, so we will do it wrong. But here is the idea. First we show that (**) holds for rational and arbitrary .

Suppose that is an open set where is analytic. If , and , and the spectrum of are all in , then are defined and (this follows by writing the partial fraction decomposition and using continuity of addition, multiplication, and the inverse in a Banach algebra). Now let be a sequence of rational functions converging uniformly to in a neighborhood of . Then , whence

where the second equality follows from the fact that (**) holds for rational functions. Thus (**) holds for rational and analytic.

We now show that (**) for and analytic. Let be analytic, and let be a sequence of rationals converge uniformly to in a neighborhood of . Then

from our definition of the functional calculus. This completes the proof.

The usual proof of this fact (which some students handed in) is to do some rather tricky Cauchy integration.

#### 4. Proof that every neighborhood of the spectrum if a K-spectral set

Here I will write a proof of this fact that does not use Banach-space valued Cauchy integrals, when I find such a proof (or when a reader tells me how to do it).

Dear Orr,

I just found your blog : very nice indeed ! Keep posting. Best regards, Catalin Badea

Thank you!

(I was hoping an expert might drop by, when I wrote the last line of the post).

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