Free semigroup algebras and the structure of an isometric tuple
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An n-tuple of operators V=(V_1,…,V_n) acting on a Hilbert space H is said to be isometric if the corresponding row operator is an isometry. A free semigroup algebra is the weakly closed algebra generated by an isometric n-tuple V. The structure of a free semigroup algebra contains a great deal of information about V. Thus it is natural to study this algebra in order to study V. A free semigroup algebra is said to be analytic if it is isomorphic to the noncommutative analytic Toeplitz algebra, which is a higher-dimensional generalization of the classical algebra of bounded analytic functions on the complex unit disk. This notion of analyticity is of central importance in the general theory of free semigroup algebras. A vector x in H is said to be wandering for an isometric n-tuple V if the set of words in the entries of V map x to an orthonormal set. As in the classical case, the analytic structure of the noncommutative analytic Toeplitz algebra is determined by the existence of wandering vectors for the generators of the algebra. In the first part of this thesis, we prove the following dichotomy: either an isometric n-tuple V has a wandering vector, or the free semigroup algebra it generates is a von Neumann algebra. This implies the existence of wandering vectors for every analytic free semigroup algebra. As a consequence, it follows that every free semigroup algebra is reflexive, in the sense that it is completely determined by its invariant subspace lattice. In the second part of this thesis we prove a decomposition for an isometric tuple of operators which generalizes the classical Lebesgue-von Neumann-Wold decomposition of an isometry into the direct sum of a unilateral shift, an absolutely continuous unitary and a singular unitary. The key result is an operator-algebraic characterization of an absolutely continuous isometric tuple in terms of analyticity. We show that, as in the classical case, this decomposition determines the weakly closed algebra and the von Neumann algebra generated by the tuple.