Complex vector bundle


In mathematics, a complex vector bundle is a vector bundle whose fibers are complex vector spaces.

Any complex vector bundle can be viewed as a real vector bundle through the restriction of scalars. Conversely, any real vector bundle E can be promoted to a complex vector bundle, the complexification

whose fibers are ExR C.

Any complex vector bundle over a paracompact space admits a hermitian metric.

The basic invariant of a complex vector bundle is a Chern class. A complex vector bundle is canonically oriented; in particular, one can take its Euler class.

A complex vector bundle is a holomorphic vector bundle if X is a complex manifold and if the local trivializations are biholomorphic.

Complex structureEdit

A complex vector bundle can be thought of as a real vector bundle with an additional structure, the complex structure. By definition, a complex structure is a bundle map between a real vector bundle E and itself:


such that J acts as the square root i of −1 on fibers: if   is the map on fiber-level, then   as a linear map. If E is a complex vector bundle, then the complex structure J can be defined by setting   to be the scalar multiplication by  . Conversely, if E is a real vector bundle with a complex structure J, then E can be turned into a complex vector bundle by setting: for any real numbers a, b and a real vector v in a fiber Ex,


Example: A complex structure on the tangent bundle of a real manifold M is usually called an almost complex structure. A theorem of Newlander and Nirenberg says that an almost complex structure J is "integrable" in the sense it is induced by a structure of a complex manifold if and only if a certain tensor involving J vanishes.

Conjugate bundleEdit

If E is a complex vector bundle, then the conjugate bundle   of E is obtained by having complex numbers acting through the complex conjugates of the numbers. Thus, the identity map of the underlying real vector bundles:   is conjugate-linear, and E and its conjugate E are isomorphic as real vector bundles.

The k-th Chern class of   is given by


In particular, E and E are not isomorphic in general.

If E has a hermitian metric, then the conjugate bundle E is isomorphic to the dual bundle   through the metric, where we wrote   for the trivial complex line bundle.

If E is a real vector bundle, then the underlying real vector bundle of the complexification of E is a direct sum of two copies of E:


(since VRC = ViV for any real vector space V.) If a complex vector bundle E is the complexification of a real vector bundle E', then E' is called a real form of E (there may be more than one real form) and E is said to be defined over the real numbers. If E has a real form, then E is isomorphic to its conjugate (since they are both sum of two copies of a real form), and consequently the odd Chern classes of E have order 2.

See alsoEdit


  • Milnor, John Willard; Stasheff, James D. (1974), Characteristic classes, Annals of Mathematics Studies, vol. 76, Princeton University Press; University of Tokyo Press, ISBN 978-0-691-08122-9