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**Definition/Summary**The character of a group representation is the trace of its representation matrices.

Group characters are useful for finding the irrep content of a representation without working out the representation matrices in complete detail.

Every element in a conjugacy class has the same character, regardless of representation. The character values for the irreps form a m*m matrix, for m classes, and thus m irreps.

**Equations**The character of element a is

[itex]\chi(a) = Tr\ D(a)[/itex]

The character of the identity element is the dimension of the representation:

[itex]\chi(e) = n(D)[/itex]

The character of the inverse of an element is the complex conjugate:

[itex]\chi(a^{-1}) = \chi(a)^*[/itex]

Since all elements a of a conjugacy class A have the same character value,

[itex]\chi(A) = \chi(a)[/itex]

The characters of the irreps have various orthogonality relations.

For irreps k and l:

[itex]\sum_A n_A \chi^{(k)}(A) \chi^{(l)}(A)^* = n \delta_{kl}[/itex]

where n is the order of the group and n(A) is the order of class A.

For classes A and B:

[itex]\sum_k \chi^{(k)}(A) \chi^{(k)}(B)^* = \frac{n}{n_A}\delta_{AB}[/itex]

One can thus find the irrep content of a representation:

[itex]n(k) = \frac{1}{n} \sum_A n_A \chi(A) \chi^{(k)}(A)^*[/itex]

**Extended explanation**One can find an irrep's reality in a simple way using its character.

[itex]\frac{1}{n}\sum_a \chi(a^2)[/itex]

is 1 for a real irrep, -1 for a pseudoreal irrep, and 0 for a complex irrep.

n is the order of the group (its number of elements).

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