Modular representation theory of special linear group of degree two over a finite field in its defining characteristic

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This article gives specific information, namely, modular representation theory, about a family of groups, namely: special linear group of degree two.
View modular representation theory of group families | View other specific information about special linear group of degree two

This article discusses the modular representation theory in characteristic p (where p is a prime number) for the special linear group of degree two over a finite field of size q and characteristic p. Note in particular that the characteristic of the field over which we are taking representations is the same as the characteristic of the field over which we are considering the special linear group of degree two.

See also:

Particular cases

q (field size) p (underlying prime, field characteristic) Group SL(2,q) Order of the group (= q^3 - q) GAP ID (second part) Degrees of irreducible representations in characteristic p Number of irreducible representations (= q) Modular representation theory page
2 2 symmetric group:S3 6 1 1,2 2 modular representation theory of symmetric group:S3 at 2
3 3 special linear group:SL(2,3) 24 3 1,2,3 3 modular representation theory of special linear group:SL(2,3) at 3
4 2 alternating group:A5 60 5 1,2,2,4 4 modular representation theory of alternating group:A5 at 2
5 5 special linear group:SL(2,5) 120 5 1,2,3,4,5 5 modular representation theory of special linear group:SL(2,5) at 5
7 7 special linear group:SL(2,7) 336 114 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 7 modular representation theory of special linear group:SL(2,7) at 7
8 2 projective special linear group:PSL(2,8) 504 156 1,2,2,2,4,4,4,8 8 modular representation theory of projective special linear group:PSL(2,8) at 2
9 3 special linear group:SL(2,9) 720 409 1,2,2,3,3,4,6,6,9 9 modular representation theory of special linear group:SL(2,9) at 3

Case p = q, i.e., special liner group over a prime field

In this case, the degrees of irreducible representations are 1,2,3,\dots,p as follows:

  • Consider the natural action of SL(2,p) on a two-dimensional vector space over \mathbb{F}_p with basis labeled x,y.
  • Use this to induce an action of SL(2,p) on the polynomial ring \mathbb{F}_p[x,y].
  • For d a nonnegative integer, the space of homogeneous polynomials of degree d is an invariant subspace of degree d + 1 with basis x^d, x^{d-1}y, \dots, xy^{d-1},y^d. SL(2,p) thus acquires a representation on this space of degree d + 1. For the case 0 \le d \le p - 1, the induced action on this space gives an irreducible representation of degree d + 1.

Note that for d \ge p, we still get a representation but this is not irreducible.

General case

In this case, there are q irreducible representations, given as follows. Suppose q = p^r where p is the characteristic.

Each irreducible representation can be described as a tensor product of r representations:

\varphi_1 \otimes \varphi_2 \otimes \dots \otimes \varphi_r

where each \varphi_i is a representation of degree d_i + 1 obtained by looking at homogeneous degree d_i polynomials in \mathbb{F}_q[x,y] and where the action is given by composing the usual SL_2-action with the i^{th} power of Frobenius, i.e., with the field automorphism t \mapsto t^{p^i}.

As before, we have 0 \le d_i \le p - 1, so we get the following degree for the whole representation:

\prod_{i=1}^r (d_i + 1)

This number is bounded from below by 1 and from above by q. However, for r > 1, it is not the case that each degree appears once. Rather, each degree appears based on the number of distinct ways it can be written as an ordered product of numbers between 1 and p.