The above discrepancy between the theories in characteristic zero and charac-
teristic p 0 is the basic phenomenon underlying this entire book. Before dis-
cussing its content, we recall the following theorem of Honda and Tate ([50, §2,
Thm. 1] and [121, Thm. 2]).
For an abelian variety A0 over a finite field κ there is a finite extension
κ of κ and an isogeny (A0)κ → B0 such that B0 admits a CM lifting
over a local domain of characteristic zero with residue field κ .
This result has been used in the study of Shimura varieties, for settings where the
ground field is an algebraic closure of Fp and isogeny classes (of structured abelian
varieties) are the objects of interest; see . Our starting point comes from the
following questions which focus on controlling ground field extensions and isogenies.
For an abelian variety A0 over a finite field κ, to ensure the existence
of a CM lifting over a local domain with characteristic zero and residue
field κ of finite degree over κ,
(a) may we choose κ = κ?
(b) is an isogeny (A0)κ → B0 necessary?
These questions are formulated in various precise forms in 1.8.
An isogeny is necessary. Question (b) was answered in 1992 (see ) as follows.
There exist (many) abelian varieties over Fp that do not admit any CM
lifting to characteristic zero.
The main point of  is that a CM liftable abelian variety over Fp can be defined
over a small finite field. This idea is further pursued in Chapter 3, where the size,
or more accurately the
of the size, of all possible fields of definition of the
p-divisible group of a given abelian variety over Fp is turned into an obstruction for
the existence of a CM lifting to characteristic 0. This is used to show (in 3.8.3) that
in “most” isogeny classes of non-ordinary abelian varieties of dimension 2 over
finite fields there is a member that has no CM lift to characteristic 0. (In dimension
1 a CM lift to characteristic 0 always exists, over the valuation ring of the minimal
possible p-adic field, by Deuring Lifting Theorem; see 188.8.131.52.) We also provide
effectively computable examples of abelian varieties over explicit finite fields such
that there is no CM lift to characteristic 0.
A field extension might be necessary—depending on what you ask.
Bearing in mind the necessity to modify a given abelian variety over a finite field to
guarantee the existence of a CM lifting, we rephrase question (a) in a more precise
version (a) below.
(a) Given an abelian variety A0 over a finite field κ of characteris-
tic p, is it necessary to extend scalars to a strictly larger finite field
κ ⊃ κ (depending on A0) to ensure the existence of a κ -rational isogeny
(A0)κ → B0 such that B0 admits a CM lifting over a characteristic 0
local domain R with residue field κ ?
It turns out there are two quite different answers to question (a) , depending on
whether one requires the local domain R of characteristic 0 to be normal. The
subtle distinction between using normal or general local domains for the lifting
size of a finite field κ1 is smaller than the size of a finite field κ2 if κ1 is isomorphic to
a subfield of κ2, or equivalently if #κ1 | #κ2. Among the sizes of a family of finite fields there
may not be a unique minimal element.