Lemma 25.4.6. Let $X$, $Y$ be locally ringed spaces. Let $\mathcal{I} \subset \mathcal{O}_ X$ be a sheaf of ideals locally generated by sections. Let $i : Z \to X$ be the associated closed subspace. A morphism $f : Y \to X$ factors through $Z$ if and only if the map $f^*\mathcal{I} \to f^*\mathcal{O}_ X = \mathcal{O}_ Y$ is zero. If this is the case the morphism $g : Y \to Z$ such that $f = i \circ g$ is unique.

Proof. Clearly if $f$ factors as $Y \to Z \to X$ then the map $f^*\mathcal{I} \to \mathcal{O}_ Y$ is zero. Conversely suppose that $f^*\mathcal{I} \to \mathcal{O}_ Y$ is zero. Pick any $y \in Y$, and consider the ring map $f^\sharp _ y : \mathcal{O}_{X, f(y)} \to \mathcal{O}_{Y, y}$. Since the composition $\mathcal{I}_{f(y)} \to \mathcal{O}_{X, f(y)} \to \mathcal{O}_{Y, y}$ is zero by assumption and since $f^\sharp _ y(1) = 1$ we see that $1 \not\in \mathcal{I}_{f(y)}$, i.e., $\mathcal{I}_{f(y)} \not= \mathcal{O}_{X, f(y)}$. We conclude that $f(Y) \subset Z = \text{Supp}(\mathcal{O}_ X/\mathcal{I})$. Hence $f = i \circ g$ where $g : Y \to Z$ is continuous. Consider the map $f^\sharp : \mathcal{O}_ X \to f_*\mathcal{O}_ Y$. The assumption $f^*\mathcal{I} \to \mathcal{O}_ Y$ is zero implies that the composition $\mathcal{I} \to \mathcal{O}_ X \to f_*\mathcal{O}_ Y$ is zero by adjointness of $f_*$ and $f^*$. In other words, we obtain a morphism of sheaves of rings $\overline{f^\sharp } : \mathcal{O}_ X/\mathcal{I} \to f_*\mathcal{O}_ Y$. Note that $f_*\mathcal{O}_ Y = i_*g_*\mathcal{O}_ Y$ and that $\mathcal{O}_ X/\mathcal{I} = i_*\mathcal{O}_ Z$. By Sheaves, Lemma 6.32.4 we obtain a unique morphism of sheaves of rings $g^\sharp : \mathcal{O}_ Z \to g_*\mathcal{O}_ Y$ whose pushforward under $i$ is $\overline{f^\sharp }$. We omit the verification that $(g, g^\sharp )$ defines a morphism of locally ringed spaces and that $f = i \circ g$ as a morphism of locally ringed spaces. The uniqueness of $(g, g^\sharp )$ was pointed out above. $\square$

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