$\newcommand{\C}{\mathcal{C}}\newcommand{\D}{\mathcal{D}}\newcommand{\op}{\mathrm{op}}$I would like to define the notion of a self-dual category, which should mean a category isomorphic to its opposite in a natural way, and the notion a self-dual functor between such categories. For a category $\C$, I denote by $\C^\op$ its opposite category; for a functor $F \colon \C \to \D$ its opposite functor is $F^\op \colon \C^\op \to \D^\op$; for a natural transformation $\eta \colon F \Rightarrow G$ I denote $\eta^\op \colon G^\op \Rightarrow F^\op$ its opposite natural transformation.

**Definition**. A self-dual category is a category $\C$, a functor $i_\C \colon \C \to \C^\op$, and a natural isomorphism $$\epsilon_\C \colon i_\C^\op \circ i_\C \Rightarrow \mathrm{id}_\C.$$

I think this is the "correct" definition. (Not quite, see below.) An example would be for $\C$ the category of finite dimensional vector spaces over a field $k$, and $i_\C = \mathrm{Hom}(-,k)$. We would now like to talk about functors being self-dual, which should mean that they commute with taking duals.

**Definition**. A self-dual functor $\C \to \D$ is a functor $F \colon \C \to \D$ and a natural isomorphism
$$ \eta \colon i_\D \circ F \Rightarrow F^\op \circ i_\C $$
satisfying the following coherence condition: The diagram of natural isomorphisms

$$\begin{matrix} F \circ i_\C^{\op} & \stackrel{\eta^{\op}}{\Rightarrow} & i_\D^{\op} \circ F^{\op} \\\\ \epsilon_D \Uparrow ~ ~ ~ & & ~ ~ ~ \Downarrow \epsilon_C^{\op} \\\\ i_\D^{\op} \circ i_\D \circ F \circ i_\C^{\op} & \stackrel{\eta}{\Rightarrow} & i_\D^{\op} \circ F^{\op} \circ i_\C \circ i_\C^{\op} \end{matrix}$$

commutes.

This whole definition is quite a mouthful and it feels like someone ought to have defined this carefully somewhere. Googling for self-dual or autodual categories produces several hits where people use this term for categories isomorphic to their opposite, but I haven't seen anyone discuss categories which have such an isomorphism in a coherent way. Does anyone know whether there is such a reference? Maybe this is a special case of a more general construction?

Handbook of K-theoryarticle onWitt groups, publication 14 here: math.ucla.edu/~balmer/research/publications.html $\endgroup$ – Theo Buehler Mar 27 '12 at 11:12