Let $\mathfrak g$ be a finite-dimensional Lie algebra over $\mathbb C$. Define $\mathcal Z(\mathfrak g)$ to be the center of the universal enveloping algebra $\mathcal U\mathfrak g$, and define $(\mathcal S\mathfrak g)^{\mathfrak g}$ to be the ring of invariant elements of the symmetric algebra $\mathcal S\mathfrak g$ under the induced adjoint action of $\mathfrak g$. (Clearly $\mathcal Z(\mathfrak g) = (\mathcal U\mathfrak g)^{\mathfrak g}$ via the adjoint action.) The *Duflo isomorphism* is an isomorphism of algebras $\mathcal Z(\mathfrak g) \cong (\mathcal S\mathfrak g)^{\mathfrak g}$. At the level of vector spaces, the trick is to realize that the PBW map $\mathcal U\mathfrak g \to \mathcal S \mathfrak g$ is an isomorphism of $\mathfrak g$-modules. For the isomorphism of algebras in the semisimple case, see for example my unedited notes on the class by V. Serganova.

(I read here that this isomorphism can be realized as a composition of the PBW vector-space isomorphism $\mathcal U\mathfrak g \to \mathcal S\mathfrak g$ with the map $\mathcal S\mathfrak g \to \mathcal S\mathfrak g$ given by $x \mapsto \sinh(x/2)/(x/2)$. But it's not at all obvious that this composition is even well-defined or linear when restricted to $\mathcal Z(\mathfrak g)$. I should mention that $\mathcal Z$ is not a functor, I think. The PBW isomorphism is non-canonical, although a canonical version can be given via the symmetrization map, and I guess on the center it is canonical.)

When $\mathfrak g$ is semisimple of rank $n$, at least, one can further show that $(\mathcal S\mathfrak g)^{\mathfrak g} \cong \mathbb C[x_1,\dots,x_n]$, although you have some choice about how to make this isomorphism. Thus, at least when $\mathfrak g$ is semisimple, $\mathcal Z(\mathfrak g)$ is a polynomial ring.

But any polynomial ring can be given a Hopf structure. By choosing an isomorphism with $\mathbb C[x_1,\dots,x_n]$, we can take the Hopf structure generated by $\Delta: x_i \mapsto x_i \otimes 1 + 1 \otimes x_i$. In fact, this structure doesn't depend quite on the full choice of isomorphism. A Hopf structure on a commutative algebra $R$ is by definition the same as an algebraic group structure on $\text{Spec}(R)$. But $\text{Spec}(\mathbb C[x_1,\dots,x_n])$ is $n$-dimensional affine space — the algebra isomorphisms of $\mathbb C[x_1,\dots,x_n])$ are precisely the affine maps — so picking a commutative group structure is the same as picking an origin. (For certain values of $n$ there are also non-commutative group structures on affine $n$-space, and so non-cocommutative Hopf structures on the polynomial ring. For example, the group of upper-triangular matrices with $1$s on the diagonal is affine.)

My question is whether this Hopf structure can be picked out canonically.

Question:If $\mathfrak g$ is a finite-dimensional Lie algebra over $\mathbb C$, can the center $\mathcal Z(\mathfrak g)$ of the universal enveloping algebra be given a canonical (cocommutative) Hopf algebra structure? If no, how much extra structure on $\mathfrak g$ is needed?

Here by "canonical" I of course don't mean that there is a unique one, so you may make choices once and for all. But there should be some definition/construction that does not require the user to make any choices to implement it. By "extra structure" I mean either extra structure (an invariant metric, for example) or extra properties (semisimplicity, for example).

My suspicion is that the answer is "yes" for a *metric Lie algebra*, which is a Lie algebra $\mathfrak g$ along with a choice of an invariant nondegenerate metric, i.e. a chosen isomorphism of $\mathfrak g$-modules $\mathfrak g \cong \mathfrak g^*$. Metric Lie algebras include the semisimples and the abelians, and certain extensions of these (in fact, I believe that there is a structure theorem that any metric Lie algebra is a metric extension of semisimples and abelians, but don't quote me), but generally there are many choices of metric (e.g. any metric on an abelian Lie algebra $\mathfrak a$ is invariant, so there are $\mathfrak{gl}(\dim \mathfrak a)$ many choices).

The motivation for my question is this: by studying Vassiliev invariant and/or perturbative Chern-Simons theory, Bar Natan and others have defined a certain commutative and cocommutative Hopf algebra $A$ of "diagrams". Any choice of metric Lie algebra $\mathfrak g$ determines an algebra homomorphism $A \to \mathcal Z(\mathfrak g)$. I would like to know if this can be made into a Hopf algebra homomorphism.

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