Compositio Mathematica

The classification of triangulated subcategories

a1 CNRS URA212, U.F.R. de Mathématiques, Université Paris VII, 75251 Paris CEDEX 05, France email:

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thomason rw   [Google Scholar] 

The first main result of this paper is a bijective correspondence between the strictly full triangulated subcategories dense in a given triangulated category and the subgroups of its Grothendieck group (Thm. 2.1). Since every strictly full triangulated subcategory is dense in a uniquely determined thick triangulated subcategory, this result refines any known classification of thick subcategories to a classification of all strictly full triangulated ones. For example, one can thus refine the famous classification of the thick subcategories of the finite stable homotopy category given by the work of Devinatz–Hopkins–Smith ([Ho], [DHS], [HS] Thm. 7, [Ra] 3.4.3), which is responsible for most of the recent advances in stable homotopy theory. One can likewise refine the analogous classification given by Hopkins and Neeman ([Ho] Sect. 4, [Ne] 1.5) of the thick subcategories of $D(R)_{\rm parf}$, the chain homotopy category of bounded complexes of finitely generated projective $R$-modules, where $R$ is a commutative noetherian ring.

Key Words: triangulated category; Grothendieck group; Hopkins–Neeman classification.