Spiders for rank 2 Lie algebras. (English) Zbl 0870.17005

Summary: A spider is an axiomatization of the representation theory of a group, quantum group, Lie algebra, or other group or group-like object. It is also known as a spherical category, or a strict, monoidal category with a few extra properties, or by several other names. A recently useful point of view, developed by other authors, of the representation theory of \(\text{sl}(2)\) has been to present it as a spider by generators and relations. That is, one has an algebraic spider, defined by invariants of linear representations, and one identifies it as isomorphic to a combinatorial spider, given by generators and relations. We generalize this approach to the rank 2 simple Lie algebras, namely \(A_2\), \(B_2\), and \(G_2\). Our combinatorial rank 2 spiders yield bases for invariant spaces which are probably related to Lusztig’s canonical bases, and they are useful for computing quantities such as generalized \(6j\)-symbols and quantum link invariants. Their definition originates in definitions of the rank 2 quantum link invariants that were discovered independently by the author and François Jaeger.


17B10 Representations of Lie algebras and Lie superalgebras, algebraic theory (weights)
17B20 Simple, semisimple, reductive (super)algebras
18D10 Monoidal, symmetric monoidal and braided categories (MSC2010)
57M25 Knots and links in the \(3\)-sphere (MSC2010)


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