# The product of two positive definite matrices has real and positive eigenvalues? [duplicate]

Given two real positive definite (and therefore, symmetric) matrices $A$ and $B$, are all the eigenvalues of $AB$ real and positive?

• Wikipedia says $AB$ is positive definite if $A$ and $B$ are positive definite and commute, but I don't need $AB$ to be symmetric.
• Between the lines of this question the asking user somehow prove that yes, "the eigenvalues of $AB$ are hence real and strictly positive" but I couldn't understand if that is confirmed in the answer.

If we call $B^{1/2}$ the symmetric matrix such that $B^{1/2}B^{1/2}=B$ (i.e. the standard square root of a positive definite matrix) then $$AB=AB^{1/2}B^{1/2}=B^{-1/2}(B^{1/2}AB^{1/2})B^{1/2},$$ that is $AB$ is similar to the positive definite matrix $B^{1/2}AB^{1/2}$, sharing all eigenvalues. It makes the eigenvalues of $AB$ be positive.

• Thank you @A.G. ! I suppose we can also say that they're real since $B^{1/2}AB^{1/2}$ is positive definite. Correct? Anyway I can't see why $B^{1/2}AB^{1/2}$ is positive definite... Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 23:05
• $B^{1/2}AB^{1/2}$ has real eigenvalues as it is symmetric. Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 23:06
• By definition $x^TB^{1/2}AB^{1/2}x=z^TAz>0$ for $z=B^{1/2}x\ne 0$ $\Leftrightarrow$ $x\ne 0$. Thus positive definite.
– A.Γ.
Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 23:12
• @user3498429 Right. One can say even stronger that $MNM$ is positive definite for all symmetric non-singular $M$ as long as $N$ is positive definite. Just by definition (in my previous post).
– A.Γ.
Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 23:29
• Does the original problem statement still hold if the matrices are merely self-adjoint but not necessarily positive? In this case, we can't really take the square root, but is it fundamentally a different situation?
– keej
Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 17:58