In mathematics, a submersion is a differentiable map between differentiable manifolds whose differential is everywhere surjective. This is a basic concept in differential topology. The notion of a submersion is dual to the notion of an immersion.
is a surjective linear map. In this case p is called a regular point of the map f, otherwise, p is a critical point. A point is a regular value of f if all points p in the preimage are regular points. A differentiable map f that is a submersion at each point is called a submersion. Equivalently, f is a submersion if its differential has constant rank equal to the dimension of N.
A word of warning: some authors use the term critical point to describe a point where the rank of the Jacobian matrix of f at p is not maximal. Indeed, this is the more useful notion in singularity theory. If the dimension of M is greater than or equal to the dimension of N then these two notions of critical point coincide. But if the dimension of M is less than the dimension of N, all points are critical according to the definition above (the differential cannot be surjective) but the rank of the Jacobian may still be maximal (if it is equal to dim M). The definition given above is the more commonly used; e.g., in the formulation of Sard's theorem.
Given a submersion between smooth manifolds the fibers of , denoted can be equipped with the structure of a smooth manifold. This theorem coupled with the Whitney embedding theorem implies that every smooth manifold can be described as the fiber of a smooth map .
For example, consider given by The Jacobian matrix is
This has maximal rank at every point except for . Also, the fibers
are empty for , and equal to a point when . Hence we only have a smooth submersion and the subsets are two-dimensional smooth manifolds for .
- Any projection
- Local diffeomorphisms
- Riemannian submersions
- The projection in a smooth vector bundle or a more general smooth fibration. The surjectivity of the differential is a necessary condition for the existence of a local trivialization.
Local normal form
If f: M → N is a submersion at p and f(p) = q ∈ N, then there exists an open neighborhood U of p in M, an open neighborhood V of q in N, and local coordinates (x1, …, xm) at p and (x1, …, xn) at q such that f(U) = V, and the map f in these local coordinates is the standard projection
It follows that the full preimage f−1(q) in M of a regular value q in N under a differentiable map f: M → N is either empty or is a differentiable manifold of dimension dim M − dim N, possibly disconnected. This is the content of the regular value theorem (also known as the submersion theorem). In particular, the conclusion holds for all q in N if the map f is a submersion.
Topological manifold submersions
Submersions are also well-defined for general topological manifolds. A topological manifold submersion is a continuous surjection f : M → N such that for all p in M, for some continuous charts ψ at p and φ at f(p), the map ψ−1 ∘ f ∘ φ is equal to the projection map from Rm to Rn, where m = dim(M) ≥ n = dim(N).
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