Mobius inversion formula

The Möbius Inversion Formula is a relation between pairs of arithmetic functions, each defined from the other by sums over divisors. Originally proposed by August Ferdinand Möbius in 1832, it has many uses in Number Theory and Combinatorics.

The Formula

Let $g$ and $f$ be arithmetic functions and $\mu$ denote the Möbius Function. Then it follows that

$g(n)=\sum_{d|n}f(d)\leftrightarrow f(n)=\sum_{d|n}\mu(d)g\left(\frac{n}{d}\right)=\sum_{d|n}\mu\left(\frac{n}{d}\right)g(d).$

$\textit{Proof}$: Notice the double implication, so we have two directions to prove. We proceed with the proof of the backwards direction first. We have


To finish, we will use the fact that


If we have $\frac{n}{c}=1\leftrightarrow n=c$ then we have


and that $\sum_{d|\frac{n}{c}}\mu(d)=0$ if otherwise. Hence by considering $n=c$ we get


The first direction is satisfied, and now we must prove the second. We see that


Both directions have been proven, which completes our work $\square$


One of the most common applications of the formula is by proving that


While there are some common combinatorial and group theoretic arguments one could use, a Möbius Inversion Formula solution also suffices. Clearly by choosing $g(n)=n$ and $f(n)=\varphi(n)$ the theorem is proven.

Invalid username
Login to AoPS