Minakshisundaram–Pleijel zeta function

The Minakshisundaram–Pleijel zeta function is a zeta function encoding the eigenvalues of the Laplacian of a compact Riemannian manifold. It was introduced by Subbaramiah Minakshisundaram and Åke Pleijel (1949). The case of a compact region of the plane was treated earlier by Torsten Carleman (1935).


For a compact Riemannian manifold M of dimension N with eigenvalues   of the Laplace–Beltrami operator  , the zeta function is given for   sufficiently large by


(where if an eigenvalue is zero it is omitted in the sum). The manifold may have a boundary, in which case one has to prescribe suitable boundary conditions, such as Dirichlet or Neumann boundary conditions.

More generally one can define


for P and Q on the manifold, where the   are normalized eigenfunctions. This can be analytically continued to a meromorphic function of s for all complex s, and is holomorphic for  .

The only possible poles are simple poles at the points   for N odd, and at the points   for N even. If N is odd then   vanishes at  . If N is even, the residues at the poles can be explicitly found in terms of the metric, and by the Wiener–Ikehara theorem we find as a corollary the relation


where the symbol   indicates that the quotient of both the sides tend to 1 when T tends to  .[1]

The function   can be recovered from   by integrating over the whole manifold M:


Heat kernelEdit

The analytic continuation of the zeta function can be found by expressing it in terms of the heat kernel


as the Mellin transform


In particular, we have




is the trace of the heat kernel.

The poles of the zeta function can be found from the asymptotic behavior of the heat kernel as t→0.


If the manifold is a circle of dimension N=1, then the eigenvalues of the Laplacian are n2 for integers n. The zeta function


where ζ is the Riemann zeta function.


Apply the method of heat kernel to asymptotic expansion for Riemannian manifold (M,g) we obtain the two following theorems. Both are the resolutions of the inverse problem in which we get the geometric properties or quantities from spectra of the operators.

1) Minakshisundaram–Pleijel Asymptotic Expansion

Let (M,g) be an n-dimensional Riemannian manifold. Then, as t→0+, the trace of the heat kernel has an asymptotic expansion of the form:


In dim=2, this means that the integral of scalar curvature tells us the Euler characteristic of M, by the Gauss–Bonnet theorem.

In particular,


where S(x) is scalar curvature, the trace of the Ricci curvature, on M.

2) Weyl Asymptotic Formula Let M be a compact Riemannian manifold, with eigenvalues   with each distinct eigenvalue repeated with its multiplicity. Define N(λ) to be the number of eigenvalues less than or equal to  , and let   denote the volume of the unit disk in  . Then


as  . Additionally, as  ,


This is also called Weyl's law, refined from the Minakshisundaram–Pleijel asymptotic expansion.


  1. ^ Minakshisundaram, Subbaramiah; Pleijel, Åke (1949). "Some properties of the eigenfunctions of the Laplace-operator on Riemannian manifolds". Canadian Journal of Mathematics. 1: 242–256. doi:10.4153/CJM-1949-021-5. ISSN 0008-414X. MR 0031145. Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2011-02-12.