In 1901, Frobenius proved the following theorem: If a group contains a proper non trivial subgroup such that for all , then there exists a normal subgroup such that is the semi-direct product of and . Groups with this property - the so called Frobenius groups - arise in a natural way as transitive permutation groups, but they can also be characterized as semi-direct product of a group and a fixed-point-free group .
In 1936, Zassenhaus determined the structure of all finite fixed-point-free automorphism groups. In 1959, Thompson managed to show that any group which admits a fixed-point-free automorphism of prime order has to be nilpotent.
The main structural result on Frobenius complements can be summarized as follows (see [Hup67] V 8.15 and 8.18):
Let us give one example of a fixed-point-free automorphism group acting on . The subgroup of GL that is generated by the matrices and operates fixed-point-freely on by multiplication. is isomorphic to the quaternion group with elements.
The main point for our purposes is the fact: ``Every planar near-ring determines a Frobenius group, and conversely''. Both theories benefit from each other.