Complex geodesic

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In mathematics, a complex geodesic is a generalization of the notion of geodesic to complex spaces.


Let (X, || ||) be a complex Banach space and let B be the open unit ball in X. Let Δ denote the open unit disc in the complex plane C, thought of as the Poincaré disc model for 2-dimensional real/1-dimensional complex hyperbolic geometry. Let the Poincaré metric ρ on Δ be given by

and denote the corresponding Carathéodory metric on B by d. Then a holomorphic function f : Δ → B is said to be a complex geodesic if

for all points w and z in Δ.

Properties and examples of complex geodesics[edit]

  • Given u ∈ X with ||u|| = 1, the map f : Δ → B given by f(z) = zu is a complex geodesic.
  • Geodesics can be reparametrized: if f is a complex geodesic and g ∈ Aut(Δ) is a bi-holomorphic automorphism of the disc Δ, then f o g is also a complex geodesic. In fact, any complex geodesic f1 with the same image as f (i.e., f1(Δ) = f(Δ)) arises as such a reparametrization of f.
  • If
for some z ≠ 0, then f is a complex geodesic.
  • If
where α denotes the Caratheodory length of a tangent vector, then f is a complex geodesic.


  • Earle, Clifford J. and Harris, Lawrence A. and Hubbard, John H. and Mitra, Sudeb (2003). "Schwarz's lemma and the Kobayashi and Carathéodory pseudometrics on complex Banach manifolds". In Komori, Y.; Markovic, V.; Series, C. Kleinian groups and hyperbolic 3-manifolds (Warwick, 2001). London Math. Soc. Lecture Note Ser. 299. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. pp. 363–384.