In mathematics, the tensor-hom adjunction is that the tensor product and Hom functors $-\otimes X$ and $\operatorname {Hom} (X,-)$ form an adjoint pair:

$\operatorname {Hom} (Y\otimes X,Z)\cong \operatorname {Hom} (Y,\operatorname {Hom} (X,Z)).$ This is made more precise below. The order "tensor-hom adjunction" is because tensor is the left adjoint, while hom is the right adjoint.

## General Statement

Say R and S are (possibly noncommutative) rings, and consider the right module categories (an analogous statement holds for left modules):

${\mathcal {C}}=\mathrm {Mod} _{S}\quad {\text{and}}\quad {\mathcal {D}}=\mathrm {Mod} _{R}.$ Fix an (R,S) bimodule X and define functors F: DC and G: CD as follows:

$F(Y)=Y\otimes _{R}X\quad {\text{for }}Y\in {\mathcal {D}}$ $G(Z)=\operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Z)\quad {\text{for }}Z\in {\mathcal {C}}$ Then F is left adjoint to G. This means there is a natural isomorphism

$\operatorname {Hom} _{S}(Y\otimes _{R}X,Z)\cong \operatorname {Hom} _{R}(Y,\operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Z)).$ This is actually an isomorphism of abelian groups. More precisely, if Y is an (A, R) bimodule and Z is a (B, S) bimodule, then this is an isomorphism of (B, A) bimodules. This is one of the motivating examples of the structure in a closed bicategory.

## Counit and Unit

Like all adjunctions, the tensor-hom adjunction can be described by its counit and unit natural transformations. Using the notation from the previous section, the counit

$\varepsilon :FG\to 1_{\mathcal {C}}$ has components

$\varepsilon _{Z}:\operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Z)\otimes _{R}X\to Z$ given by evaluation: For

$\phi \in \operatorname {Hom} _{R}(X,Z)\quad {\text{and}}\quad x\in X,$ $\varepsilon (\phi \otimes x)=\phi (x).$ The components of the unit

$\eta :1_{\mathcal {D}}\to GF$ $\eta _{Y}:Y\to \operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Y\otimes _{R}X)$ are defined as follows: For y in Y,

$\eta _{Y}(y)\in \operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Y\otimes _{R}X)$ is a right S-module homomorphism given by

$\eta _{Y}(y)(t)=y\otimes t\quad {\text{for }}t\in X.$ The counit and unit equations can now be explicitly verified. For Y in C,

$\varepsilon _{FY}\circ F(\eta _{Y}):Y\otimes _{R}X\to \operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Y\otimes _{R}X)\otimes _{R}X\to Y\otimes _{R}X$ is given on simple tensors of YX by

$\varepsilon _{FY}\circ F(\eta _{Y})(y\otimes x)=\eta _{Y}(y)(x)=y\otimes x.$ Likewise,

$G(\varepsilon _{Z})\circ \eta _{GZ}:\operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Z)\to \operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,\operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Z)\otimes _{R}X)\to \operatorname {Hom} _{S}(X,Z).$ For φ in HomS(X, Z),

$G(\varepsilon _{Z})\circ \eta _{GZ}(\phi )$ is a right S-module homomorphism defined by

$G(\varepsilon _{Z})\circ \eta _{GZ}(\phi )(x)=\varepsilon _{Z}(\phi \otimes x)=\phi (x)$ and therefore

$G(\varepsilon _{Z})\circ \eta _{GZ}(\phi )=\phi .$ ## Ext and Tor

The Hom functor $\hom(X,-)$ and the tensor product $-\otimes X$ functor respectively commute with arbitrary limits and colimits that exist in their domain category, but in general fail to commute with (even finite) colimits and limits: their failure to preserve short exact sequences motivates the definition of the Ext functor and the Tor functor.