# How to prove $\det(e^A) = e^{\operatorname{tr}(A)}$?

Prove $$\det(e^A) = e^{\operatorname{tr}(A)}$$ for all matrices $A \in \mathbb{C}_{n×n}$.

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All the answers so far use a triangularized form at some point. If you know that every complex square matrix is triangularizable, it brings the problem back to triangular matrices. – 1015 Mar 6 '13 at 16:04

Both sides are continuous. A standard proof goes by showing this for diagonalizable matrices, and then using their density in $M_n(\mathbb{C})$.

But actually, it suffices to triangularize $$A=P^{-1}TP$$ with $P$ invertible and $T$ upper-triangular. This is possible as soon as the characteristic polynomial splits, which is obviously the case in $\mathbb{C}$.

Let $\lambda_1,\ldots,\lambda_n$ be the eigenvalues of $A$.

Observe that each $T^k$ is upper-triangular with $\lambda_1^k,\ldots,\lambda_n^k$ on the diagonal. It follows that $e^T$ is upper triangular with $e^{\lambda_1},\ldots,e^{\lambda_n}$ on the diagonal. So $$\det e^T=e^{\lambda_1}\cdots e^{\lambda_n}=e^{\lambda_1+\ldots+\lambda_n}=e^{\mbox{tr}\;T}$$

Finally, observe that $\mbox{tr} \;A=\mbox{tr}\;T$, and that $P^{-1}T^kP=A^k$ for all $k$, so $$P^{-1}e^TP=e^A\qquad \Rightarrow\qquad \det e^T=\det (P^{-1}e^TP)=\det A.$$

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Nice answer (+1) – Thomas Mar 6 '13 at 16:09

Hint: Use that every complex matrix has a jordan normal form and that the determinant of a triangular matrix is the product of the diagonal.

use that $\exp(A)=\exp(S^{-1} J S ) = S^{-1} \exp(J) S$

And that the trace doesn't change under transformations.

\begin{align*} \det(\exp(A))&=\det(\exp(S J S^{-1}))\\ &=\det(S \exp(J) S^{-1})\\ &=\det(S) \det(\exp(J)) \det (S^{-1})\\ &=\det(\exp (J))\\ &=\prod_{i=1}^n \exp(j_{ii})\\ &=\exp(\sum_{i=1}^n{j_{ii}})\\ &=\exp(\text{tr}J) \end{align*}

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Can i have another hint. its a hard question – John Mar 6 '13 at 15:29
posted antoher hint – Dominic Michaelis Mar 6 '13 at 15:33
is ta tthe jordan normal form – John Mar 6 '13 at 15:33
$A$ is the normal matrix and $D$ is the jordan normal form of $A$ – Dominic Michaelis Mar 6 '13 at 15:33
Posted a more explizit proof – Dominic Michaelis Mar 6 '13 at 15:40

Let $f(t)= \det(e^{tA})$. Then $f'(t)=D \det(e^{tA}) \cdot Ae^{tA}=\text{tr} \left(^t \text{com}(e^{tA})Ae^{tA} \right)$. But $A$ and $e^{tA}$ commute, and $^t\text{com}(e^{tA})e^{tA}=\det(e^{tA}) \operatorname{I}_n$. Therefore, $f'(t)=\text{tr}(A)f(t)$ and $f(0)=1$, hence $f(t)=e^{\text{tr}(A)t}$. For $t=1$, $\det(e^{A})= e^{\text{tr}(A)}$.

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Ah! Finally an elementary answer...+1. I think you want $com(e^{sA})^te^{sA}=\det(e^{sA})I_n$. – 1015 Mar 6 '13 at 16:18
@julien: Thank you, I edited my answer. – Seirios Mar 6 '13 at 16:52
Why $D \det(e^{tA}) \cdot Ae^{tA}=\text{tr} \left(^t \text{com}(e^{tA})Ae^{tA} \right)$? – math.n00b Aug 16 '14 at 14:44
The result is known as Jacobi's formula: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobi's_formula – Seirios Aug 16 '14 at 15:17

You can do it in these steps (still requires some work):

$\quad \bf (1)$ $A$ is diagonalizable

$\quad \bf (2)$ $A$ is nilpotent

$\quad \bf (3)$ $A$ is arbitrary

$\bf (1)$ This shouldn't be too hard. Start with assuming that $A = CDC^{-1}$ for $D$ a diagonal matrix.

$\bf (2)$ Use that every nilpotent matrix is similar to a upper triangular matrix $D$ with $0$s on the diagonal. So $A = CDC^{-1}$.

$\bf (3)$ Use that every matrix can be written as the sum $A = D + N$ of a nilpotent matrix $N$ and a diagonalizable matrix $D$ and $D$ and $N$ commute. So $$\det(e^{A}) = \det(e^De^N) =\det(e^{D})\det(e^{N}) = e^{\text{Tr}(D)}e^{\text{Tr}(N)} = e^{\text{Tr}(D) + \text{Tr}(N)} = e^{\text{Tr}(A)}.$$ We have used here that $D$ and $N$ commute so that $e^A = e^De^N.$

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so is this basically all i need to write out – John Mar 6 '13 at 15:38
@John: Yes. But you still have to write down the details of step (1) and (2) and there was some claims that I assumed you know. – Thomas Mar 6 '13 at 15:39
can you help me a bit more please regarding those details – John Mar 6 '13 at 15:40
@John: What specific details? (Left is really just to write things down. For example, for step (1) try and write down a diagonal matrix $D$ and the figure out what $e^D$ is using that definition of the exponential map. – Thomas Mar 6 '13 at 15:42
You need to add that $D$ and $N$ commute. Also, since you triangularize $D$, why don't you triangularize $A$ directly (which is what I did)? – 1015 Mar 6 '13 at 15:50