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In mathematics, more specifically in group theory, a group is said to be **perfect** if it equals its own commutator subgroup, or equivalently, if the group has no non-trivial abelian quotients (equivalently, its abelianization, which is the universal abelian quotient, is trivial). In symbols, a perfect group is one such that *G*^{(1)} = *G* (the commutator subgroup equals the group), or equivalently one such that *G*^{ab} = {1} (its abelianization is trivial).

The smallest (non-trivial) perfect group is the alternating group *A*_{5}. More generally, any non-abelian simple group is perfect since the commutator subgroup is a normal subgroup with abelian quotient. Conversely, a perfect group need not be simple; for example, the special linear group over the field with 5 elements, SL(2,5) (or the binary icosahedral group, which is isomorphic to it) is perfect but not simple (it has a non-trivial center containing ).

The direct product of any two simple non-abelian groups is perfect but not simple; the commutator of two elements is [(*a*,*b*),(*c*,*d*)] = ([*a*,*c*],[*b*,*d*]). Since commutators in each simple group form a generating set, pairs of commutators form a generating set of the direct product.

The fundamental group of is a perfect group of order 120.^{[1]}

More generally, a quasisimple group (a perfect central extension of a simple group) that is a non-trivial extension (and therefore not a simple group itself) is perfect but not simple; this includes all the insoluble non-simple finite special linear groups SL(*n*,*q*) as extensions of the projective special linear group PSL(*n*,*q*) (SL(2,5) is an extension of PSL(2,5), which is isomorphic to *A*_{5}). Similarly, the special linear group over the real and complex numbers is perfect, but the general linear group GL is never perfect (except when trivial or over , where it equals the special linear group), as the determinant gives a non-trivial abelianization and indeed the commutator subgroup is SL.

A non-trivial perfect group, however, is necessarily not solvable; and 4 divides its order (if finite), moreover, if 8 does not divide the order, then 3 does.^{[2]}

Every acyclic group is perfect, but the converse is not true: *A*_{5} is perfect but not acyclic (in fact, not even superperfect), see (Berrick & Hillman 2003). In fact, for the alternating group is perfect but not superperfect, with for .

Any quotient of a perfect group is perfect. A non-trivial finite perfect group that is not simple must then be an extension of at least one smaller simple non-abelian group. But it can be the extension of more than one simple group. In fact, the direct product of perfect groups is also perfect.

Every perfect group *G* determines another perfect group *E* (its universal central extension) together with a surjection *f*: *E* → *G* whose kernel is in the center of *E,*
such that *f* is universal with this property. The kernel of *f* is called the Schur multiplier of *G* because it was first studied by Issai Schur in 1904; it is isomorphic to the homology group .

In the **plus construction** of algebraic K-theory, if we consider the group for a commutative ring , then the subgroup of elementary matrices forms a perfect subgroup.

As the commutator subgroup is *generated* by commutators, a perfect group may contain elements that are products of commutators but not themselves commutators. Øystein Ore proved in 1951 that the alternating groups on five or more elements contained only commutators, and conjectured that this was so for all the finite non-abelian simple groups. Ore's conjecture was finally proven in 2008. The proof relies on the classification theorem.^{[3]}

A basic fact about perfect groups is Otto Grün's proposition of **Grün's lemma** (Grün 1935, Satz 4,^{[note 1]} p. 3): the quotient of a perfect group by its center is centerless (has trivial center).

Proof:IfGis a perfect group, letZ_{1}andZ_{2}denote the first two terms of the upper central series ofG(i.e.,Z_{1}is the center ofG, andZ_{2}/Z_{1}is the center ofG/Z_{1}). IfHandKare subgroups ofG, denote the commutator ofHandKby [H,K] and note that [Z_{1},G] = 1 and [Z_{2},G] ⊆Z_{1}, and consequently (the convention that [X,Y,Z] = [[X,Y],Z] is followed):

By the three subgroups lemma (or equivalently, by the Hall-Witt identity), it follows that [

G,Z_{2}] = [[G,G],Z_{2}] = [G,G,Z_{2}] = {1}. Therefore,Z_{2}⊆Z_{1}=Z(G), and the center of the quotient groupG/Z(G) is the trivial group.

As a consequence, all higher centers (that is, higher terms in the upper central series) of a perfect group equal the center.

In terms of group homology, a perfect group is precisely one whose first homology group vanishes: *H*_{1}(*G*, **Z**) = 0, as the first homology group of a group is exactly the abelianization of the group, and perfect means trivial abelianization. An advantage of this definition is that it admits strengthening:

- A superperfect group is one whose first two homology groups vanish: .
- An acyclic group is one
*all*of whose (reduced) homology groups vanish (This is equivalent to all homology groups other than vanishing.)

Especially in the field of algebraic K-theory, a group is said to be **quasi-perfect** if its commutator subgroup is perfect; in symbols, a quasi-perfect group is one such that *G*^{(1)} = *G*^{(2)} (the commutator of the commutator subgroup is the commutator subgroup), while a perfect group is one such that *G*^{(1)} = *G* (the commutator subgroup is the whole group). See (Karoubi 1973, pp. 301–411) and (Inassaridze 1995, p. 76).

**^***Satz*is German for "theorem".

**^**Milnor, John. "The Poincaré Conjecture."*The millennium prize problems*(2006): 70.**^**Tobias Kildetoft (7 July 2015), answer to "Is a non-trivial finite perfect group of order 4n?".*Mathematics StackExchange*. Accessed 7 July 2015.**^**Liebeck, Martin; O'Brien, E.A.; Shalev, Aner; Tiep, Pham Huu (2010). "The Ore conjecture" (PDF).*Journal of the European Mathematical Society*.**12**(4): 939–1008. doi:10.4171/JEMS/220.

- Berrick, A. Jon; Hillman, Jonathan A. (2003), "Perfect and acyclic subgroups of finitely presentable groups",
*Journal of the London Mathematical Society*, Second Series,**68**(3): 683–98, doi:10.1112/s0024610703004587, MR 2009444, S2CID 30232002 - Grün, Otto (1935), "Beiträge zur Gruppentheorie. I.",
*Journal für die Reine und Angewandte Mathematik*(in German),**174**: 1–14, ISSN 0075-4102, Zbl 0012.34102 - Inassaridze, Hvedri (1995),
*Algebraic K-theory*, Mathematics and its Applications, vol. 311, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers Group, ISBN 978-0-7923-3185-8, MR 1368402 - Karoubi, Max (1973),
*Périodicité de la K-théorie hermitienne, Hermitian K-Theory and Geometric Applications*, Lecture Notes in Math., vol. 343, Springer-Verlag - Rose, John S. (1994),
*A Course in Group Theory*, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., p. 61, ISBN 0-486-68194-7, MR 1298629

- Weisstein, Eric W. "Perfect Group".
*MathWorld*. - Weisstein, Eric W. "Grün's lemma".
*MathWorld*.