Minimal atomic complexes, by A.J. Baker and J.P. May

Hu, Kriz and May recently reexamined ideas implicit in Priddy's elegant homotopy theoretic construction of the Brown-Peterson spectrum at a prime p. They discussed May's notions of nuclear complexes and of cores of spaces, spectra, and commutative S-algebras. Their most striking conclusions, due to Hu and Kriz, were negative: cores are not unique up to equivalence, and BP is not a core of MU considered as a commutative S-algebra, although it is a core of MU considered as a p-local spectrum. We investigate these ideas further, obtaining much more positive conclusions. We show that nuclear complexes have several non-obviously equivalent characterizations. Up to equivalence, they are precisely the irreducible complexes, the minimal atomic complexes, and the Hurewicz complexes with trivial mod p Hurewicz homomorphism above the Hurewicz dimension, which we call complexes with no mod p detectable homotopy. Unlike the notion of a nuclear complex, these other notions are all invariant under equivalence. This simple and conceptual criterion for a complex to be minimal atomic allows us to prove that many familiar spectra, such as ko, eo_2, and BoP at the prime 2, all BP at any prime p, and the indecomposable wedge summands of the suspension spectra of CP^infty$and HP^infty at any prime p are minimal atomic.


A.J. Baker <a.baker@maths.gla.ac.u>
J.P. May <may@math.uchicago.edu>