# How to generate isotropic tensors?

Consider a real tensor $$\bf{T}$$ upon $$\mathop\otimes\limits_{n}(\mathbb{R}^3)$$, with a definite order $$n$$, it could be isotropic, i.e., be invariant under the action of all elements in $$SO(3)$$(not $$O(3)$$, so pseudo-tensor is allowed), only if which matches a certain pattern.

e.g., with $$n=1$$, thus $$\bf{T}$$ is a vector in $$\mathbb{R}^3$$. The only possible isotropic vector must be zero vector, $$\bf0$$.

$$n=2$$, is $$\lambda \bf{I}$$, where $$\bf{I}$$ is identity tensor, or $$\lambda\delta_{ij}$$, in component. $$\delta_{ij}$$ is Kronecker delta.

$$n=3$$, is $$\lambda \epsilon_{ijk}$$.

$$n=4$$, is $$\alpha \delta_{ij}\delta_{kl}+\beta\delta_{ik}\delta_{jl}+\gamma\delta_{il}\delta_{jk}$$.

I use this piece of code to get the pattern:

tensor[n_] := tensor[n] = Array[Symbol[
StringJoin["t", Sequence @@ ToString /@ {##}]
]&, ConstantArray[3, n]];


this makes an abstract tensor in order $$n$$.

For order $$n$$, the result $$T'_{i_1' i_2'\dots i_n'}$$ after above transformation is $$T'_{i_1' i_2'\dots i_n'}=R_{i_1'i_1}R_{i_2'i_2}\dots R_{i_n'i_n}T_{i_1i_2\dots i_n}$$ where $$R$$ is the rotation matrix in $$SO(3)$$.

Then use:

matrixZ[q_] := RotationMatrix[q, {0, 0, 1}]
matrixY[q_] := RotationMatrix[q, {0, 1, 0}]


to generate rotation matrices in two orthogonal axes. Tensor is isotropic iff its invariant under those matrices(for arbitrary q)(cause any rotation can be decompose into three rotations in these two axes, first around $$z$$, then $$y$$, and finally $$z$$ again).

res[n_, mat_, ts_] := TensorContract[
Outer[Times, ts, Sequence@@(ConstantArray[mat, n])],
{#, 2#+n}& /@ Range[n]
]


give the result $$\mathbf{T}'$$, corresponding to rotation matrix mat, tensor ts and order n.

Now I can solve it(e.g. order $$3$$):

tensor3 = tensor;
matZ = matrixZ[Pi/2];
matY = matrixY[Pi/2];
resZ = res[3, matZ, tensor3];
resY = res[3, matY, tensor3]
tensor3 /. First @ Solve[
tensor3 == resZ == resY,
Flatten @ tensor3
]
(*
{{{0, 0, 0}, {0, 0, t123}, {0, -t123, 0}},
{{0, 0, -t123}, {0, 0, 0}, {t123, 0, 0}},
{{0, t123, 0}, {-t123, 0, 0}, {0, 0, 0}}}
*)


Questions This method is sometimes very slow, seems the performance depends on the value of q of the matrix.

For example, in order $$4$$:

tensor4=tensor;
matZ1=matrixZ[Pi/4];
matY1=matrixY[Pi/4];
matZ2=matrixZ[Pi/2];
matY2=matrixY[Pi/2];
resZ1=res[4,matZ1,tensor4];
resY1=res[4,matY1,tensor4];
resZ2=res[4,matZ2,tensor4];
resY2=res[4,matY2,tensor4];


If I chose matZ1, matY1, the symbolic way will take too long time to get solution(over five minute), but for matZ1, matY2 only 0.0711628s:

AbsoluteTiming@Solve[{
tensor4 == resY2 == resZ1}, Flatten@tensor4, Method->Reduce]

{0.0779194, {{t1111 -> t1122 + t1212 + t1221, t1112 -> 0,
t1113 -> 0, t1121 -> 0, t1123 -> 0, t1131 -> 0, t1132 -> 0,
t1133 -> t1122, t1211 -> 0, t1213 -> 0, t1222 -> 0,
t1223 -> 0, t1231 -> 0, t1232 -> 0, t1233 -> 0, t1311 -> 0,
t1312 -> 0, t1313 -> t1212, t1321 -> 0, t1322 -> 0,
t1323 -> 0, t1331 -> t1221, t1332 -> 0, t1333 -> 0,
t2111 -> 0, t2112 -> t1221, t2113 -> 0, t2121 -> t1212,
t2122 -> 0, t2123 -> 0, t2131 -> 0, t2132 -> 0, t2133 -> 0,
t2211 -> t1122, t2212 -> 0, t2213 -> 0, t2221 -> 0,
t2222 -> t1122 + t1212 + t1221, t2223 -> 0, t2231 -> 0,
t2232 -> 0, t2233 -> t1122, t2311 -> 0, t2312 -> 0,
t2313 -> 0, t2321 -> 0, t2322 -> 0, t2323 -> t1212,
t2331 -> 0, t2332 -> t1221, t2333 -> 0, t3111 -> 0,
t3112 -> 0, t3113 -> t1221, t3121 -> 0, t3122 -> 0,
t3123 -> 0, t3131 -> t1212, t3132 -> 0, t3133 -> 0,
t3211 -> 0, t3212 -> 0, t3213 -> 0, t3221 -> 0, t3222 -> 0,
t3223 -> t1221, t3231 -> 0, t3232 -> t1212, t3233 -> 0,
t3311 -> t1122, t3312 -> 0, t3313 -> 0, t3321 -> 0,
t3322 -> t1122, t3323 -> 0, t3331 -> 0, t3332 -> 0,
t3333 -> t1122 + t1212 + t1221}}}


Can we find isotropic tensor patterns faster(like kill duplicate equations)? Is there any way to avoid choosing parameters(e.g., matX, matY etc.) manually?

What's the universal formula of isotropic tensors?

• First of all, these are isotropic, not isomorphic tensors. You may find the result in this paper Harold Jeffreys (1973) On isotropic tensors relevant. It turns out they can be expressed as products of $\delta_{ij}$ and $\epsilon_{ijk}$. Finally, you are searching a fully-symmetric representation of $SO(3)$. Thus, group-theoretical methods apply. A computer algorithm is described in this paper Feb 19 at 18:58
• The general algorithm was developed by Coope et al. (1965, 1970). (aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.1697123, aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.1665190) However, to my knowledge, no public code which implement this algorithm is available. Feb 19 at 19:12

I must admit, I haven't read much past the question description, but the following creates isotropic tensors in 3-dimensions for rank n.

As you note, we're seeking for tensors which satisfy: $$T'_{i_1' i_2'\dots i_n'}=R_{i_1'i_1}R_{i_2'i_2}\dots R_{i_n'i_n}T_{i_1i_2\dots i_n}$$

The important identity here, is that we can express infinitesimal rotations (to first order) using the dimension-3 alternating tensor:

$$R_{ij}=\delta_{ij}-\delta \theta_k \epsilon_{kij}$$

For the $$n=2$$ case, this means we're looking for conditions like: $$\epsilon_{mij}T_{sj} + \epsilon_{mjs} T_{is} =0$$ Similarly, for $$n=3$$ and $$n=4$$: $$\epsilon_{mij}T_{sjk} + \epsilon_{mjs} T_{isk} + \epsilon_{mks} T_{ijs} =0 \\ \epsilon_{mij}T_{sjkl} + \epsilon_{mjs} T_{iskl} + \epsilon_{mks} T_{ijsl} + + \epsilon_{mls} T_{ijks} =0$$

We can implement this in Mathematica as:

generalIsotropicTensor[rank_, syms_ : {}, symbol_ : A] :=
Block[
{a = symmetrizedTensor[rank, syms, symbol],
\[Epsilon] = LeviCivitaTensor,
isotropyRequirements},
isotropyRequirements =
Normal[Plus @@ (MapIndexed[
TensorTranspose[
TensorContract[TensorProduct[\[Epsilon], a], #1],
Permute[Range[rank + 1],
Cycles[{Range[2, First[#2] + 1]}]]] &,
Table[{3, 3 + i}, {i, rank}]])];

a /. Quiet[
Variables[a]]]]
]

symmetrizedTensor[rank_, syms_ : {}, symbol_ : A] :=
Normal[SymmetrizedArray[
pos_ :> Subscript[symbol, StringJoin[ToString /@ pos]],
ConstantArray[3, rank], syms]]


Which gives for $$n=1,2,3,4$$:

MatrixForm@*generalIsotropicTensor /@ Range Note that $$n=4$$ might be hard to inspect visually, but corresponds to the notation used in OP by the following substitutions: $$\alpha \rightarrow A_{3311},\; \beta \rightarrow A_{1313},\; \gamma \rightarrow A_{1111}-A_{1313}-A_{3311}$$

The code also accepts additional symmetries, e.g. in hydrodynamics Stokes Assumption (i<->j) implies $$\beta=\gamma$$, which can be used as follows:

generalIsotropicTensor[4, {{Cycles[{{1, 2}}], 1}}]


Also note that I haven't checked this thoroughly for $$n>4$$.

### Edit 01:

I've yet to check the actual independent components are correct for $$n>4$$, but the number of independent components seems to hold for $$n=5,6,7,8$$ in accordance with the paper given by @yarchik in the comments above, so seems plausible.