## 101.35 Étale morphisms

An étale morphism of algebraic stacks should not be defined as a smooth morphism of relative dimension $0$. Namely, the morphism

$[\mathbf{A}^1_ k/\mathbf{G}_{m, k}] \longrightarrow \mathop{\mathrm{Spec}}(k)$

is smooth of relative dimension $0$ for any choice of action of the group scheme $\mathbf{G}_{m, k}$ on $\mathbf{A}^1_ k$. This does not correspond to our usual idea that étale morphisms should identify tangent spaces. The example above isn't quasi-finite, but the morphism

$\mathcal{X} = [\mathop{\mathrm{Spec}}(k)/\mu _{p, k}] \longrightarrow \mathop{\mathrm{Spec}}(k)$

is smooth and quasi-finite (Section 101.23). However, if the characteristic of $k$ is $p > 0$, then we see that the representable morphism $\mathop{\mathrm{Spec}}(k) \to \mathcal{X}$ isn't étale as the base change $\mu _{p, k} = \mathop{\mathrm{Spec}}(k) \times _\mathcal {X} \mathop{\mathrm{Spec}}(k) \to \mathop{\mathrm{Spec}}(k)$ is a morphism from a nonreduced scheme to the spectrum of a field. Thus if we define an étale morphism as smooth and locally quasi-finite, then the analogue of Morphisms of Spaces, Lemma 67.39.11 would fail.

Instead, our approach will be to start with the requirements that “étaleness” should be a property preserved under base change and that if $\mathcal{X} \to X$ is an étale morphism from an algebraic stack to a scheme, then $\mathcal{X}$ should be Deligne-Mumford. In other words, we will require étale morphisms to be DM and we will use the material in Section 101.34 to define étale morphisms of algebraic stacks.

In Lemma 101.36.10 we will characterize étale morphisms of algebraic stacks as morphisms which are (a) locally of finite presentation, (b) flat, and (c) have étale diagonal.

The property “étale” of morphisms of algebraic spaces is étale-smooth local on the source-and-target, see Descent on Spaces, Remark 74.21.5. It is also stable under base change and fpqc local on the target, see Morphisms of Spaces, Lemma 67.39.4 and Descent on Spaces, Lemma 74.11.28. Hence, by Lemma 101.34.1 above, we may define what it means for a morphism of algebraic spaces to be étale as follows and it agrees with the already existing notion defined in Properties of Stacks, Section 100.3 when the morphism is representable by algebraic spaces because such a morphism is automatically DM by Lemma 101.4.3.

Definition 101.35.1. Let $f : \mathcal{X} \to \mathcal{Y}$ be a morphism of algebraic stacks. We say $f$ is étale if $f$ is DM and the equivalent conditions of Lemma 101.34.1 hold with $\mathcal{P} = {\acute{e}tale}$.

We will use without further mention that this agrees with the already existing notion of étale morphisms in case $f$ is representable by algebraic spaces or if $\mathcal{X}$ and $\mathcal{Y}$ are representable by algebraic spaces.

Proof. Combine Remark 101.34.3 with Morphisms of Spaces, Lemma 67.39.3. $\square$

Proof. Combine Remark 101.34.4 with Morphisms of Spaces, Lemma 67.39.4. $\square$

Proof. Let $j : \mathcal{U} \to \mathcal{X}$ be an open immersion of algebraic stacks. Since $j$ is representable, it is DM by Lemma 101.4.3. On the other hand, if $X \to \mathcal{X}$ is a smooth and surjective morphism where $X$ is a scheme, then $U = \mathcal{U} \times _\mathcal {X} X$ is an open subscheme of $X$. Hence $U \to X$ is étale (Morphisms, Lemma 29.36.9) and we conclude that $j$ is étale from the definition. $\square$

Lemma 101.35.5. Let $f : \mathcal{X} \to \mathcal{Y}$ be a morphism of algebraic stacks. The following are equivalent

1. $f$ is étale,

2. $f$ is DM and for any morphism $V \to \mathcal{Y}$ where $V$ is an algebraic space and any étale morphism $U \to V \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ where $U$ is an algebraic space, the morphism $U \to V$ is étale,

3. there exists some surjective, locally of finite presentation, and flat morphism $W \to \mathcal{Y}$ where $W$ is an algebraic space and some surjective étale morphism $T \to W \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ where $T$ is an algebraic space such that the morphism $T \to W$ is étale.

Proof. Assume (1). Then $f$ is DM and since being étale is preserved by base change, we see that (2) holds.

Assume (2). Choose a scheme $V$ and a surjective étale morphism $V \to \mathcal{Y}$. Choose a scheme $U$ and a surjective étale morphism $U \to V \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ (Lemma 101.21.7). Thus we see that (3) holds.

Assume $W \to \mathcal{Y}$ and $T \to W \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ are as in (3). We first check $f$ is DM. Namely, it suffices to check $W \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X} \to W$ is DM, see Lemma 101.4.5. By Lemma 101.4.12 it suffices to check $W \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ is DM. This follows from the existence of $T \to W \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ by (the easy direction of) Theorem 101.21.6.

Assume $f$ is DM and $W \to \mathcal{Y}$ and $T \to W \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ are as in (3). Let $V$ be an algebraic space, let $V \to \mathcal{Y}$ be surjective smooth, let $U$ be an algebraic space, and let $U \to V \times _\mathcal {Y} \mathcal{X}$ is surjective and étale (Lemma 101.21.7). We have to check that $U \to V$ is étale. It suffices to prove $U \times _\mathcal {Y} W \to V \times _\mathcal {Y} W$ is étale by Descent on Spaces, Lemma 74.11.28. We may replace $\mathcal{X}, \mathcal{Y}, W, T, U, V$ by $\mathcal{X} \times _\mathcal {Y} W, W, W, T, U \times _\mathcal {Y} W, V \times _\mathcal {Y} W$ (small detail omitted). Thus we may assume that $Y = \mathcal{Y}$ is an algebraic space, there exists an algebraic space $T$ and a surjective étale morphism $T \to \mathcal{X}$ such that $T \to Y$ is étale, and $U$ and $V$ are as before. In this case we know that

$U \to V\text{ is étale} \Leftrightarrow \mathcal{X} \to Y\text{ is étale} \Leftrightarrow T \to Y\text{ is étale}$

by the equivalence of properties (1) and (2) of Lemma 101.34.1 and Definition 101.35.1. This finishes the proof. $\square$

Lemma 101.35.6. Let $\mathcal{X}, \mathcal{Y}$ be algebraic stacks étale over an algebraic stack $\mathcal{Z}$. Any morphism $\mathcal{X} \to \mathcal{Y}$ over $\mathcal{Z}$ is étale.

Proof. The morphism $\mathcal{X} \to \mathcal{Y}$ is DM by Lemma 101.4.12. Let $W \to \mathcal{Z}$ be a surjective smooth morphism whose source is an algebraic space. Let $V \to \mathcal{Y} \times _\mathcal {Z} W$ be a surjective étale morphism whose source is an algebraic space (Lemma 101.21.7). Let $U \to \mathcal{X} \times _\mathcal {Y} V$ be a surjective étale morphism whose source is an algebraic space (Lemma 101.21.7). Then

$U \longrightarrow \mathcal{X} \times _\mathcal {Z} W$

is surjective étale as the composition of $U \to \mathcal{X} \times _\mathcal {Y} V$ and the base change of $V \to \mathcal{Y} \times _\mathcal {Z} W$ by $\mathcal{X} \times _\mathcal {Z} W \to \mathcal{Y} \times _\mathcal {Z} W$. Hence it suffices to show that $U \to W$ is étale. Since $U \to W$ and $V \to W$ are étale because $\mathcal{X} \to \mathcal{Z}$ and $\mathcal{Y} \to \mathcal{Z}$ are étale, this follows from the version of the lemma for algebraic spaces, namely Morphisms of Spaces, Lemma 67.39.11. $\square$

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