We use the notation $\chi_{q}(n,\cdot)$ to identify Dirichlet characters $\Z\to \C$, where $q$ is the modulus, and $n$ is the index, a positive integer coprime to $q$ that identifies a Dirichlet character of modulus $q$ as described below. The LMFDB label $\texttt{q.n}$, with $1\le n < \max(q,2)$ uniquely identifies $\chi_{q}(n,\cdot)$.
Introduced by Brian Conrey, this labeling system is based on an explicit isomorphism between the multiplicative group $(\Z/q\Z)^\times$ and the group of Dirichlet characters of modulus $q$ that makes it easy to recover the order, the conductor, and the parity of a Dirichlet character from its label, or to induce characters.
As an example, $\chi_q(1, \cdot)$ is always trivial, $\chi_q(m,\cdot)$ is real if $m^2=1\bmod q$, and for all $m,n$ coprime to $q$ we have $\chi_q(m,n)=\chi_q(n,m)$.
For prime powers $q=p^e$ we define $\chi_q(n,\cdot)$ as follows:

For each odd prime $p$ we choose the least positive integer $g_p$ which is a primitive root for all $p^e$, and then for $n \equiv g_p^a $ mod $p^{e}$ and $m \equiv g_p^{b} $ mod $p^{e}$ coprime to $p$ we define $$ \chi_{p^e}(n, m) = \exp\left(2\pi i \frac{a b}{\phi(p^{e})} \right). $$

$\chi_2(1, \cdot)$ is trivial, $\chi_4(3, \cdot)$ is the unique nontrivial character of modulus $4$, and for larger powers of $2$ we choose $1$ and $5$ as generators of the multiplicative group. For $e > 2$, if $$ n \equiv \epsilon_a 5^a \pmod{2^e} $$ and $$ m \equiv \epsilon_b 5^b \pmod{2^e} $$ with $\epsilon_a, \epsilon_b \in \{\pm 1\}$, then \[ \chi_{2^e}(n, m) = \exp\left(2 \pi i \left(\frac{(1  \epsilon_a)(1  \epsilon_b)}{8} + \frac{ab}{2^{e2}}\right)\right). \]
For general $q$, the function $\chi_q(n, m)$ is defined multiplicatively: $\chi_{q_1 q_2}(n, m) := \chi_{q_1}(n, m)\chi_{q_2}(n, m)$ for all coprime positive integers $q_1$ and $q_2$. The Chinese remainder theorem implies that this definition is well founded and that every Dirichlet character can be defined in this way. In particular, every Dirichlet character $\chi$ of modulus $q$ can be written uniquely as a product of Dirichlet characters of prime power modulus.
 Review status: reviewed
 Last edited by John Cremona on 20181128 10:41:05
 character.dirichlet.conrey.index
 character.dirichlet.conrey.order
 character.dirichlet.group
 cmf.embedding_label
 cmf.label
 rcs.source.character.dirichlet
 lmfdb/characters/main.py (line 146)
 lmfdb/characters/templates/CharacterNavigate.html (line 38)
 lmfdb/characters/templates/character_search_results.html (line 73)
 lmfdb/classical_modular_forms/web_newform.py (line 1044)
 lmfdb/classical_modular_forms/web_newform.py (line 1068)
 20181128 10:41:05 by John Cremona (Reviewed)