This is the fourth part in a series of papers developing a tensor product theory of modules for a vertex operator algebra. In this paper, we establish the associativity of P(z)-tensor products for nonzero complex numbers z constructed in Part III of the present series under suitable conditions. The associativity isomorphisms constructed in this paper are analogous to associativity isomorphisms for vector space tensor products in the sense that they relate the tensor products of three elements in three modules taken in different ways. The main new feature is that they are controlled by the decompositions of certain spheres with four punctures into spheres with three punctures using a sewing operation. We also show that under certain conditions, the existence of the associativity isomorphisms is equivalent to the associativity (or (nonmeromorphic) operator product expansion in the language of physicists) for the intertwining operators (or chiral vertex operators). Thus the associativity of tensor products provides a means to establish the (nonmeromorphic) operator product expansion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Algebra and Number Theory