So, last time, I briefly mentioned a sheaf-theoretic “Local Morse Datum” for a smooth (Morse) function at a (non-degenerate) critical point :

which gives the integral cohomology of the “local Morse datum” of at , considered as a pair of spaces. Confusing, I know. It seems like complete overkill at this point, and it is.

So, let’s go deeper.

First, we’ll consider more general objects: the local Morse data of at , with respect to the complex of sheaves , denoted

Basically, you have the complex of sheaves, , on , and you consider sections of this “sheaf” whose support is contained in the subset , and take the stalk cohomology at the point . Sort of like: the sections of the sheaf that propagate in the “positive direction” (where “positive” is taken to be with respect to (really, the covector , but we’re not quite there yet 🙂 ) ). If this stalk cohomology vanishes, then the local sections of the sheaf can be “extended” a little bit further away from , at least in the “positive” direction. That’s supposed to be what I mean by “propagate” here.

Why is this idea useful?

Let be a sufficiently nice closed subset, so we can give it a Whitney stratification (by which I mean, “satisfies Whitney’s condition (b) at all appropriate times”), . To each stratum , we associate the following subset of the cotangent bundle of , called the **conormal space to S in M****:**

which consists of covectors in the cotangent bundle which annihilate the various tangent spaces to , considered as subspaces of the tangent spaces to . Equivalently (after perhaps endowing with a Riemannian metric), you can think of these elements as hyperplanes in that contain the subspace .

Let be a smooth function, its restriction, the associated stratified critical locus of . It is any easy exercise to show that, when is a Whitney (a) stratification, is a closed subset of . Similarly, the Whitney (a) condition is equivalent to requiring the equality:

Hence, when I say , there is a unique stratum, say , for which (since the strata are *disjoint*). And, if you think about it, if , we must have

as . Remember this.

**Local Stratified Acyclicity (LSA)**

Say we have our Whitney stratification, , of . Then, satisfies something called **LSA**:

for all (this means the cohomology sheaves of are all locally constant with respect to the strata of ), for all (germs of) stratified submersions ,

.

I’m not going to prove this, but it’s a consequence of a result called the **non-characteristic deformation lemma** of Kashiwara and Schapira in *Sheaves on Manifolds*. This tells us that the cohomology sheaves of complexes of sheaves are locally constant if a certain (similar) vanishing condition occurs with germs of submersions.

And now, finally, I can talk about the microsupport of a complex of sheaves, , which encodes the “directions” at given points of where sections of “do not propagate.” That is, the directions in which we should expect to detect changes in the cohomology (sheaves) of . Precisely, the **Microsupport of ** is the subset , characterized (in the negative…) by:

if and only if there exists an open subset of in such that, for all smooth function germs with , one has .

So, if , locally, we can say for some smooth function germ at , and if you move in the direction of the “gradient flow” of in the “positive direction,” will detect a change in the cohomology of . I like to picture to be the germ of some linear form (say in a local coordinate system about ), and the gradient flow is like looking a family of cross sections of near . Moreover, will be a critical point whatever function we pick, by trivial application of LSA.

I also think this emphasizes the importance of the connection with Morse data: if and only if .

Now, say we’ve got our sufficiently nice closed subset , with Whitney stratification , equipped with inclusion map . Say we’ve got some smooth function . We know that, for , if and only if . Then, via the isomorphism

and an application of LSA, this quantity vanishes if and only if is a stratified submersion. Consequently, we see

Now…what does the microsupport reveal about the local Morse data of functions with stratified critical points? That’s where things will start to get interesting. Until next time.

References:

M. Kashiwara and P. Schapira; *Sheaves on Manifolds.*

J. Schurmann; *Topology of Singular Spaces and Constructible Sheaves.*