joint with Idun Reiten, with an Appendix by Michel Van den Bergh

We show that an algebraic 2-Calabi-Yau triangulated category over an algebraically closed field is a cluster category if it contains a cluster tilting subcategory whose quiver has no oriented cycles. We prove a similar characterization for higher cluster categories. As a first application, we show that the stable category of maximal Cohen-Macaulay modules over a certain isolated singularity of dimension three is a cluster category. As a second application, we prove the non-acyclicity of the quivers of endomorphism algebras of cluster-tilting objects in the stable categories of representation-infinite preprojective algebras. In the appendix, Michel Van den Bergh gives an alternative proof of the main theorem by appealing to the universal property of the triangulated orbit category.

Bernhard Keller, le 20 octobre 2006.