Direct image functor

  (Redirected from Direct image)

In mathematics, in the field of sheaf theory and especially in algebraic geometry, the direct image functor generalizes the notion of a section of a sheaf to the relative case.


Let f: XY be a continuous mapping of topological spaces, and Sh(–) denote the category of sheaves of abelian groups on a topological space. The direct image functor


sends a sheaf F on X to its direct image presheaf, which is defined on open subsets U of Y by


which turns out to be a sheaf on Y, also called the pushforward sheaf.

This assignment is functorial, i.e. a morphism of sheaves φ: FG on X gives rise to a morphism of sheaves f(φ): f(F) → f(G) on Y.


If Y is a point, then the direct image equals the global sections functor. Let f: X → Y be a continuous map of topological spaces or a morphism of schemes. Then the exceptional inverse image is a functor f!: D(Y) → D(X).


A similar definition applies to sheaves on topoi, such as étale sheaves. Instead of the above preimage f−1(U) the fiber product of U and X over Y is used.

Higher direct imagesEdit

The direct image functor is left exact, but usually not right exact. Hence one can consider the right derived functors of the direct image. They are called higher direct images and denoted Rq f.

One can show that there is a similar expression as above for higher direct images: for a sheaf F on X, Rq f(F) is the sheaf associated to the presheaf



  • The direct image functor is right adjoint to the inverse image functor, which means that for any continuous   and sheaves   respectively on X, Y, there is a natural isomorphism:
  • If f is the inclusion of a closed subspace XY then f is exact. Actually, in this case f is an equivalence between sheaves on X and sheaves on Y supported on X. It follows from the fact that the stalk of   is   if   and zero otherwise (here the closedness of X in Y is used).

See alsoEdit


  • Iversen, Birger (1986), Cohomology of sheaves, Universitext, Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-16389-3, MR 0842190, esp. section II.4

This article incorporates material from Direct image (functor) on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.