A functorial approach to rank functions on triangulated categories


We study rank functions on a triangulated category $\mathcal{C}$ via its abelianisation $\operatorname{mod}\mathcal{C}$. We prove that every rank function on $\mathcal{C}$ can be interpreted as an additive function on $\operatorname{mod}\mathcal{C}$. As a consequence, every integral rank function has a unique decomposition into irreducible ones. Furthermore, we relate integral rank functions to a number of important concepts in the functor category $\operatorname{Mod}\mathcal{C}$. We study the connection between rank functions and functors from $\mathcal{C}$ to locally finite triangulated categories, generalising results by Chuang and Lazarev. In the special case $\mathcal{C}=\mathcal{T}^c$ for a compactly generated triangulated category $\mathcal{T}$, this connection becomes particularly nice, providing a link between rank functions on $\mathcal{C}$ and smashing localisations of $\mathcal{T}$. In this context, any integral rank function can be described using the composition length with respect to certain endofinite objects in $\mathcal{T}$. Finally, if $\mathcal{C}=\operatorname{per}(A)$ for a differential graded algebra $A$, we classify homological epimorphisms $A\to B$ with $\operatorname{per}(B)$ locally finite via special rank functions which we call idempotent.

arXiv e-print, 2209.00898