On pre-Courant algebroids

Janusz Grabowski and I have placed a prepint on the arXiv with the title Pre-Courant Algebroids.

In the `classical language’, a Courant algebroid is a vector bundle, whose sections come equipped with a bracket – bilinear map – together with an anchor map and a nondegenerate symmetric bilinear form that satisfy some compatibility conditions. The bracket on the space of sections is not a Lie bracket, but rather a non-skewsymmetric bracket that satisfies the Jacobi identity in Loday-Leibniz form. This bracket is usually called the Courant–Dorfman bracket.

A pre-Courant algebroid can be thought of as a Courant algebroid but without the Jacobi identity on the Courant–Dorfman pre-bracket.

It has long be known, due to Roytenberg [1], that Courant algebroids are `really’ symplectic Lie 2-algebroids. That is, we have an N-manifold of degree 2 (a supermanifold with a particular additional grading), equipped with a nondegenerate Poisson bracket of degree -2 and a homological vector field of degree 1 that is Hamiltonian. The brackets of Courant algebroid can then be recovered using the derived bracket formalism and the bilinear form is encoded in the symplectic structure.

Pre-Courant algebroids in the superlanguage
So, do we have a similar understanding of pre-Courant algebroids? The answer is yes…

First back to Courant algebroids. As stated above, they can be encoded in a Hamiltonian vector field – and so they can be encoded in a Grassmann odd Hamiltonian of degree/weight 3, which we denote as \( \Theta\). The fact that the Hamiltonian vector field is homological (Grassmann odd and squares to zero) is equivalent to

\( \{ \Theta, \Theta \} =0 \).

This condition encodes all the compatibility conditions between the bracket and the anchor map (a particular vector bundle map to the tangent bundle). More than that, this condition also encodes the Jacobi identity for the bracket. Thus, we need a weaker condition that is not too weak – we only want to lose the Jacobi identity and keep the other conditions. It turns out that we require

\( \{\{ \Theta, \Theta \}, f\} =0 \),

for all weight zero functions f, if we want to encode a pre-Courant algebroid in exactly the same way as we do a Courant algebroid. In the preprint we define what we call symplectic almost Lie 2-algebroids in this way and show how they correspond to pre-Courant algebroids.

Does this help any?
This change in starting position simplifies many basic facts about pre-Courant algebroids – just as it does with Courant algebroids. In particular, the notion a Dirac structures as a particular Lagrangian submanifolds is quite clear.

In the preprint was also show that including a compatible N-grading is quite simple when one uses the language of homogeneity structures [2]. One should also consult [3,4] where the notion of weighted Lie groupoids and weighted Lie algebroids are explored. As an example VB-Courant algebroids – Courant algebroids with a compatible vector bundle structure – are natural examples of weighted (pre-)Courant algebroids. This change of postion to `graded super bundles’ with some additional structures allows for a very neat understanding of weighted Dirac structure and in particular VB-Dirac structures. This framework simplifes the understanding of many thing.

The bottom line seems to be that Courant algebroids are `really’ sympelectic Lie 2-algebroids and pre-Courant algebroids are really symplectic almost Lie 2-algebroids.

[1] D. Roytenberg, On the structure of graded symplectic supermanifolds and Courant algebroids, in: Quantization, Poisson brackets and beyond (Manchester, 2001), 169–185, Contemp. Math. 315, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, 2002.

[2] J. Grabowski & M. Rotkiewicz, Graded bundles and homogeneity structures, J. Geom. Phys. 62 (2012), 21–36.

[3] A.J. Bruce, K. Grabowska & J. Grabowski, Graded bundles in the category of Lie groupoids, SIGMA 11 (2015), 090.

[4] A.J. Bruce, K. Grabowska & J. Grabowski, Linear duals of graded bundles and higher analogues of (Lie) algebroids, J. Geom. Phys. 101
(2016), 71–99.

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