Ramanujan graph

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In spectral graph theory, a Ramanujan graph, named after Srinivasa Ramanujan, is a regular graph whose spectral gap is almost as large as possible (see extremal graph theory). Such graphs are excellent spectral expanders.

Examples of Ramanujan graphs include the clique, the biclique , and the Petersen graph. As Murty's survey paper notes, Ramanujan graphs "fuse diverse branches of pure mathematics, namely, number theory, representation theory, and algebraic geometry". As observed by Toshikazu Sunada, a regular graph is Ramanujan if and only if its Ihara zeta function satisfies an analog of the Riemann hypothesis.[1]


Let be a connected -regular graph with vertices, and let be the eigenvalues of the adjacency matrix of . Because is connected and -regular, its eigenvalues satisfy . Whenever there exists with , define{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Dubious |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[dubious ] }}

A -regular graph is a Ramanujan graph if .

A Ramanujan graph is characterized as a regular graph whose Ihara zeta function satisfies an analogue of the Riemann Hypothesis.

Extremality of Ramanujan graphs

For a fixed and large , the -regular, -vertex Ramanujan graphs nearly minimize . If is a -regular graph with diameter , a theorem due to Nilli[2] states

Whenever is -regular and connected on at least three vertices, , and therefore . Let be the set of all connected -regular graphs with at least vertices. Because the minimum diameter of graphs in approaches infinity for fixed and increasing , Nilli's theorem implies an earlier theorem of Alon and Boppana which states


Constructions of Ramanujan graphs are often algebraic. Lubotzky, Phillips and Sarnak show how to construct an infinite family of p +1-regular Ramanujan graphs, whenever p ≡ 1 (mod 4) is a prime. Their proof uses the Ramanujan conjecture, which led to the name of Ramanujan graphs. Morgenstern extended the construction of Lubotzky, Phillips and Sarnak to all prime powers.


  1. Audrey Terras, Zeta Functions of Graphs: A Stroll through the Garden, volume 128, Cambridge Studies in Advanced Mathematics, Cambridge University Press, (2010).
  2. A Nilli, On the second eigenualue of a graph, Discrete Mathematics 91 (1991) pp. 207-210.
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