Fano variety

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In algebraic geometry, a Fano variety, introduced in (Fano 1934, 1942), is a complete variety X whose anticanonical bundle KX* is ample. In this definition, one could assume that X is smooth over a field, but the minimal model program has also led to the study of Fano varieties with various types of singularities, such as terminal or klt singularities.


  • The fundamental example of Fano varieties are the projective spaces: the anticanonical line bundle of Pn over a field k is O(n+1), which is very ample (over the complex numbers, its curvature is n+1 times the Fubini–Study symplectic form).
  • Let D be a smooth codimension-1 subvariety in Pn. The adjunction formula implies that KD = (KX + D)|D = (−(n+1)H + deg(D)H)|D, where H is the class of a hyperplane. The hypersurface D is therefore Fano if and only if deg(D) < n+1.
  • More generally, a smooth complete intersection of hypersurfaces in n-dimensional projective space is Fano if and only if the sum of their degrees is at most n.
  • Weighted projective space P(a0,...,an) is a singular (klt) Fano variety. This is the projective scheme associated to a graded polynomial ring whose generators have degrees a0,...,an. If this is well formed, in the sense that no n of the numbers a have a common factor greater than 1, then any complete intersection of hypersurfaces such that the sum of their degrees is less than a0+...+an is a Fano variety.
  • Every projective variety in characteristic zero that is homogeneous under a linear algebraic group is Fano.

Some properties[edit]

The existence of some ample line bundle on X is equivalent to X being a projective variety, so a Fano variety is always projective. For a Fano variety X over the complex numbers, the Kodaira vanishing theorem implies that the coherent sheaf cohomology groups Hi(X, OX) of the structure sheaf vanish for i > 0. It follows that the first Chern class induces an isomorphism c1: Pic(X) → H2(X, Z).

A smooth complex Fano variety is simply connected. Campana and KollárMiyaokaMori showed that a smooth Fano variety over an algebraically closed field is rationally chain connected; that is, any two closed points can be connected by a chain of rational curves.[1] A much easier fact is that every Fano variety has Kodaira dimension −∞.

Kollár–Miyaoka–Mori showed that the smooth Fano varieties of a given dimension over an algebraically closed field of characteristic zero form a bounded family, meaning that they are classified by the points of finitely many algebraic varieties.[2] In particular, there are only finitely many deformation classes of Fano varieties of each dimension. In this sense, Fano varieties are much more special than other classes of varieties such as varieties of general type.

Classification in small dimensions[edit]

The following discussion concerns smooth Fano varieties over the complex numbers.

A Fano curve is isomorphic to the projective line.

A Fano surface is also called a del Pezzo surface. Every del Pezzo surface is isomorphic to either P1 × P1 or to the projective plane blown up in at most 8 points. As a result, they are all rational.

In dimension 3, there are smooth complex Fano varieties which are not rational, for example cubic 3-folds in P4 (by Clemens-Griffiths) and quartic 3-folds in P4 (by Iskovskikh-Manin). Iskovskih (1977, 1978, 1979) classified the smooth Fano 3-folds with second Betti number 1 into 17 classes, and Mori & Mukai (1981) classified the smooth ones with second Betti number at least 2, finding 88 deformation classes. A detailed summary of the classification of smooth Fano 3-folds is given in Iskovskikh & Prokhorov (1999).


  1. ^ J. Kollár. Rational Curves on Algebraic Varieties. Theorem V.2.13.
  2. ^ J. Kollár. Rational Curves on Algebraic Varieties. Corollary V.2.15.


See also[edit]