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# c 2007 The Author(s) and The IMO Compendium Group

Pell’s Equation

Duˇ san Djuki´ c

Contents

1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

2 Pell-type Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

3 Problems with Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

1 Introduction

Deﬁnition 1. Pell’s equation is a diophantine equation of the form x

2

−dy

2

= 1, x, y ∈ Z, where d

is a given natural number which is not a square.

An equation of the form x

2

−dy

2

=a for an integer a is usually referred to as a Pell-type equation.

An arbitrary quadratic diophantine equation with two unknowns can be reduced to a Pell-type

equation. How can such equations be solved? Recall that the general solution of a linear diophantine

equation is a linear function of some parameters. This does not happen with general quadratic dio-

phantine equations. However, as we will see later, in the case of such equations with two unknowns

there still is a relatively simple formula describing the general solution.

Why does the deﬁnition of Pell’s equations assume d is not a square? Well, for d = c

2

, c ∈ Z,

the equation x

2

−dy

2

= a can be factored as (x −cy)(x +cy) = a and therefore solved without using

any further theory. So, unless noted otherwise, d will always be assumed not to be a square.

The equation x

2

−dy

2

= a can still be factored as

(x +y

√

d)(x −y

√

d) = a.

In order to be able to make use of this factorization, we must deal with numbers of the form x+y

√

d,

where x, y are integers. This set is denoted by Z[

√

d]. An important property of this set is that the

sum and product of two of its elements remain in the set (i.e. this set is really a ring).

Deﬁnition 2. The conjugate of number z = x +y

√

d is deﬁned as z = x −y

√

d, and its norm as

N(z) = zz = x

2

−dy

2

∈ Z.

Theorem 1. The norm and the conjugate are multiplicative in z: N(z

1

z

2

) = N(z

1

)N(z

2

) and z

1

z

2

=

z

1

· z

2

.

Proof is straightforward.

In terms of these concepts, equation x

2

−dy

2

= a can be rewritten as

N(z) = a, where z = x −y

√

d ∈ Z[

√

d].

In particular, the Pell’s equation becomes N(z) = 1, z ∈ Z[

√

d]. We continue using these notation

regularly.

2 Olympiad Training Materials, www.imomath.com

Since z is a solution to a Pell-type equation if and only if so is −z, we always assume w.l.o.g.

that z > 0.

Solutions of a Pell’s Equation

A Pell’s equation has one trivial solution, (x, y) = (1, 0), corresponding to solution z =1 of equation

N(z) =1. But if we know the smallest non-trivial solution, then we can derive all the solutions. This

is what the following statement claims.

Theorem 2. If z

0

is the minimal element of Z[

√

d] with z

0

> 1 and N(z

0

) = 1, then all the elements

z ∈ Z[

√

d] with Nz = 1 are given by z =±z

n

0

, n ∈ Z.

Proof. Suppose that N(z) = 1 for some z > 0. There is a unique integer k for which z

k

0

≤ z < z

k+1

0

.

Then the number z

1

= zz

−k

0

= zz

0

k

satisﬁes 1 ≤ z

1

< z

0

and N(z

1

) = N(z)N(z

0

)

−k

= N(z) = 1. It

follows from the minimality of z

0

that z

1

= 1 and hence z = z

k

0

.

Corrolary. If (x

0

, y

0

) is the smallest solution of the Pell’s equation with d given, then all natural

solutions (x, y) of the equation are given by x +y

√

d =±(x

0

+y

0

√

d)

n

, n ∈ N.

Note that z = x +y

√

d determines x and y by the formulas x =

z+z

2

and y =

z−z

2

√

d

. Thus all the

solutions of the Pell’s equation are given by the formulas

x =

z

n

0

+z

0

n

2

i y =

z

n

0

−z

0

n

2

√

d

.

Example 1. The smallest non-trivial solution of the equation x

2

−2y

2

=1 is (x, y) = (3, 2). Therefore

for every solution (x, y) there is an integer n such that x +y

√

d =±(3 +2

√

2)

n

. Thus

x =

(3 +2

√

2)

n

+(3 −2

√

2)

n

2

, y =

(3 +2

√

2)

n

−(3 −2

√

2)

n

2

√

2

.

Now we will show that every Pell’s equation indeed has a non-trivial solution.

Lemma 1 (Dirichlet’s theorem). Let α be an irrational number and n be a positive integer. There

exist p ∈ Z and q ∈ {1, 2, . . . , n} such that

¸

¸

¸α −

p

q

¸

¸

¸ <

1

(n+1)q

.

Proof. The stated inequality is equivalent to |qα −p| <

1

n+1

.

Let, as usual, {x} denote the fractional part of real x. Among the n +2 numbers 0, {α}, {2α},

. . . , {nα}, 1 in the segment [0, 1], some two will differ by less than

1

n+1

. If such are the numbers

{kα} and {lα}, it is enough to set q = |k −l|; and if such are {kα} and 0 or 1, it is enough to set

q = k. In either case, p is the integer closest to kα.

Lemma 2. If α is an arbitrary real number, then there exist inﬁnitely many pairs of positive integers

(p, q) satisfying

¸

¸

¸α −

p

q

¸

¸

¸ <

1

q

2

.

Proof immediately follows from Dirichlet’s theorem.

Theorem 3. A Pell’s equation has a solution in the set of positive integers.

Proof. Applying L.2 to α =

√

d, we see that there exists an integer n with |n| < 2

√

d +1 such

that the equation x

2

−dy

2

= n has inﬁnitely many positive integral solutions (x, y). It follows that

there are two different ones, say (x

1

, y

1

) i (x

2

, y

2

), that satisfy x

1

≡ x

2

and y

1

≡ y

2

(mod n). Denote

z

1

= x

1

+y

1

√

d and z

2

= x

2

+y

2

√

d and assume z

1

>z

2

. Then z

0

= z

1

/z

2

>1 is an element of Z[

√

d]

of norm 1 and corresponds to a non-trivial solution (x

0

, y

0

) of the Pell’s equation.

Duˇ san Djuki´ c: Pell’s Equation 3

2 Pell-type Equations

A Pell-type equation in general may not have integer solutions (for example, the equation x

2

−3y

2

=

2). When it does, it is possible to describe the general solution.

Theorem 4. Equation x

2

−dy

2

=−1 has an integral solution if and only if there exists z

1

∈ Z[

√

d]

with z

2

1

= z

0

.

Proof. The ”if” part is trivial. For the other direction we consider the smallest solution z = z

1

∈

Z[

√

d] of the equation N(z) = −1 satisfying z > 1 and, like in theorem 2, deduce that 1 ≤ z

1

< z

0

.

Since z = z

2

1

< z

2

0

is a solution of N(z) = 1, we must have z

2

1

= z

0

.

Consider the general equation N(z) = a. Like in the theorem1, one can showthat all its solutions

can be obtained from the solutions z with 1 ≤z ≤z

0

, where z

0

is the smallest non-trivial solution of

Pell’s equation N(z) = 1. Thus it is always sufﬁcient to check ﬁnitely many values of x. Moreover,

there is a simple upper bound for those x.

Theorem 5. If a is an integer such that the equation N(z) = x

2

−dy

2

= a has an integer solution,

then there is a solution with |x| ≤

z

0

+1

2

√

z

0

_

|a| and the corresponding upper bound for y =

_

x

2

−a

d

.

Proof. If z

1

is a solution of the equation N(z) = a, then there is m ∈ Z for which a/

√

z

0

≤ z

m

0

z

1

<

a

√

z

0

. Then z

2

= z

m

0

z

1

= x +y

√

d is a solution of the equation N(z) = 1 and satisﬁes

2|x| =

¸

¸

¸

¸

z

2

+

a

z

2

¸

¸

¸

¸

≤ max

[a/

√

z

0

,a

√

z

0

)

¸

¸

¸t +

a

t

¸

¸

¸ =

z

0

+1

√

z

0

_

|a|.

Example 2. Find all integer solutions of x

2

−7y

2

= 2.

Solution. The mimimal solution of the corresponding Pell’s equation is z

0

=8+3

√

7. We must ﬁnd

the solutions z = x +y

√

7 of N(z) = 2 satisfying x ≤

z

0

+1

2

√

z

0

√

a = 3 and y =

_

x

2

−2

7

≤ 1. The only

such solution is z = 3 +

√

7. It follows that all solutions (x, y) of the given equation are given by

x +y

√

7 =±(3 +

√

7)(8 +3

√

7)

n

, n ∈ N. △

3 Problems with Solutions

1. Solve in integers the equation x

2

+y

2

−1 = 4xy.

Solution. Substituting u = y−2x reduces the equation to u

2

=3x

2

+1 whose general solution

is given by x +u

√

3 = (2 +

√

3)

n

.

2. For a given integer d, solve x

2

−dy

2

= 1 u skupu racionalnih brojeva.

Solution. No knowledge of Pell’s equation is required here. For x =1 we have d

_

y

x−1

_

=

x+1

y

.

Setting

y

x−1

= t ∈ Q we easily obtain x =

dt

2

+1

dt

2

−1

i y =

2t

dt

2

−1

.

3. Let (x, y) = (a, b), a, b ∈ N be the smallest integer solution of x

2

−dy

2

= 1. Consider the

sequence deﬁned by y

0

= 0, y

1

= b, y

n+1

= 2ay

n

−y

n−1

for n ≥ 1. Show that ay

2

n

+1 is a

square for each n. Show that if ay

2

+1 is a square for some y ∈ N, then y = y

n

for some n.

Solution. Let x

n

+y

′

n

=

_

a +b

√

d

_

n

. All solutions (x, y) of x

2

= ay

2

+1 are given by (x, y) =

(x

n

, y

′

n

) for some n. We have

y

′

n

=

1

2

√

d

__

a +b

√

d

_

n

−

_

a −b

√

d

_

n

_

. (1)

4 Olympiad Training Materials, www.imomath.com

Since a±b

√

d are the solutions of the quadratic equation x

2

−2ax +1 = 0, relation (1) easily

implies that y

′

n+2

−2ay

′

n+1

+y

n

= 0. Therefore the sequences (y

n

) and (y

′

n

) satisfy the same

initial conditions and recurrent relation and must be equal. The statement of the problem

follows immediately.

4. Prove that 5x

2

+4 or 5x

2

−4 is a perfect square if and only if x is a term in the Fibonacci

sequence.

5. Find all n ∈ N such that

_

n

k −1

_

= 2

_

n

k

_

+

_

n

k +1

_

for some natural number k < n.

Solution. Multiplication by

(k+1)!(n−k+1)!

n!

transforms the equation into k(k+1) =2(k+1)(n−

k +1) +(n −k)(n −k +1), which is simpliﬁed as n

2

+3n +2 = 2k

2

+2k, i.e.

(2n +3)

2

+1 = 2(2k +1)

2

.

The smallest solution of equation x

2

−2y

2

=−1 is (1, 1), and therefore all its solutions (x

i

, y

i

)

are given by x

i

+y

i

√

2 = (1 +

√

2)

2i+1

. Note that x

i

and y

i

are always odd, so n =

x

i

−3

2

is an

integer and a solution to the problem. Clearly, there are no other solutions.

6. Let a ∈ N and d = a

2

−1. If x, y are integers and the absolute value of m = x

2

−dy

2

is less

than 2a +2, prove that |m| is a perfect square.

Solution. The smallest solution of N(z) = 1 is z

0

= a +

√

d. If N(z) = m has a solution, then

by the theorem 5 it also has a solution z = x +y

√

d in which x ≤

z

0

+1

2

√

z

0

_

|m| =

_

a+1

2

|m|. For

|m| <2a+2 this inequality becomes x < a+1, and thus (x, y) = (a, 1) and m =1 or y =0 and

m = x

2

.

7. Prove that if m = 2 +2

√

28n

2

+1 is an integer for some n ∈ N, then m is a perfect square.

Solution. We start by ﬁnding those n for which m is an integer. The pair (

m

2

−1, n) must be a

solution of Pell’s equation x

2

−28y

2

=1 whose smallest solution is (x

0

, y

0

) = (127, 24); hence

m

2

−1 +n

√

28 = (127 +24

√

28)

k

for some k ∈ N. Now we have

m = 2 +(127 +24

√

28)

k

+(127 −24

√

28)

k

= A

2

,

where A = (8 +3

√

7)

k

+(8 −3

√

7)

k

is an integer.

8. Prove that if the difference of two consecutive cubes is n

2

, n ∈ N, then 2n −1 is a square.

Solution. Let (m+1)

3

−m

3

=3m

2

+3m+1 = n

2

. Then (2n)

2

=3(2m+1)

2

+1, so (2n, 2m+

1) is a solution of Pell’s equation x

2

−3y

2

= 1. As shown already, we obtain 2n + (2m +

1)

√

3 = (2 +

√

3)

l

. In order for n to be integral, l must be odd. It follows that 4n = (2 +

√

3)

2k+1

+(2 −

√

3)

2k+1

. Finally,

2n −1 =

(1 +

√

3)

2

(2 +

√

3)

2k

+(1 −

√

3)

2

(2 −

√

3)

2k

−8

4

= N

2

,

whereby N is an integer: N =

1

2

_

(1 +

√

3)(2 +

√

3)

k

+(1 −

√

3)(2 −

√

3)

k

_

.

9. If n is an integer such that 3n+1 and 4n+1 are both squares, prove that n is a multiple of 56.

Solution. Let us ﬁnd all such n. Denoting 3n+1 = a

2

and 4n+1 = b

2

we have (2a)

2

−3b

2

=

1.

We shall ﬁnd all solutions of x

2

−3b

2

= 1 with an even x = 2a. The solutions of the Pell’s

equation u

2

−3v

2

=1 are given by (u, v) = (u

k

, v

k

), where u

k

+v

k

√

3 = (2+

√

3)

k

. One easily

sees that u

k

is even if and only if k is odd. Thus (x, b) = (u

2k+1

, v

2k+1

), where we also have

2u

2k+1

= (2 +

√

3)

2k+1

+(2 −

√

3)

2k+1

.

Duˇ san Djuki´ c: Pell’s Equation 5

It follows that (a, b) = (

1

2

u

2k+1

, v

2k+1

) and n =

1

3

(a

2

−1) =

1

12

(u

2

2k+1

−4), which yields

48n = (7 +4

√

3)

2k+1

+(7 −4

√

3)

2k+1

−14

= 2

_

7

2k+1

−7 +48

_

2k +1

2

_

7

2k−1

+48

2

_

2k +1

2

_

7

2k−3

+· · ·

_

.

We thus obtain a simpler expression for n, making the divisibility by 56 obvious:

n =

7

2k+1

−7

24

+2

_

2k +1

2

_

7

2k−1

+2 · 48

_

2k +1

2

_

7

2k−3

+· · ·

10. Prove that the equation x

2

−dy

2

=−1 is solvable in integers if and only if so is x

2

−dy

2

=−4.

11. Let p be a prime. Prove that the equation x

2

− py

2

= −1 has integral solutions if and only if

p = 2 or p ≡1 (mod 4).

Solution. If the considered equation has a solution (x, y), then p | x

2

+1; hence either p = 2

or p ≡1 (mod 4).

For p = 2, x = y = 1 is a solution. We shall show that there is a solution for each prime

p = 4t +1. A natural starting point (and the only one we see!) is the existence of an integral

solution (x

0

, y

0

) with x

0

, y

0

∈Nto the corresponding Pell’s equation: x

2

0

−py

2

0

=1. We observe

that x

0

is odd: otherwise y

2

0

≡ py

2

0

≡3 (mod 4). Thus in the relation x

2

0

−1 = (x

0

−1)(x

0

+1) =

py

2

0

, factors x

0

+1 and x

0

−1 have the greatest common divisor 2, and consequently one of

them is a doubled square (to be denoted by 2x

2

) and the other one 2p times a square (to be

denoted by 2py

2

). The case x

0

+1 = 2x

2

, x

0

−1 = 2py

2

is impossible because it leads to a

smaller solution of Pell’s equation: x

2

−py

2

= 1. It follows that x

0

−1 = 2x

2

, x

0

+1 = 2py

2

and therefore x

2

−py

2

=−1.

12. If p is a prime of the form 4k +3, show that exactly one of the equations x

2

− py

2

= ±2 has

an integral solution.

Solution. This is very similar to the previous problem. At most one has a solution. Now if

(x

0

, y

0

) is the smallest solution of the corresponding Pell’s equation, if x

0

±1 are not coprime,

the equality (x

0

−1)(x

0

+1) = py

2

0

gives us x

0

±1 =2x

2

and x

0

∓1 =2py

2

, i.e. x

2

−py

2

=±1,

which is impossible in either case. Therefore x

0

±1 are coprime, which implies x

0

±1 = x

2

,

x

0

∓1 = py

2

and x

2

−py

2

=±2.

13. Prove that 3

n

−2 is a square only for n = 1 and n = 3.

14. Prove that if

x

2

+1

y

2

+4 is a perfect square, then this square equals 9.

then there exist inﬁnitely many pairs of positive integers p 1 (p. Suppose that N(z) = 1 for some z > 0. 2 √ √ (3 + 2 2)n − (3 − 2 2)n √ . Then z0 = z1 /z2 > 1 is an element of Z[ d] of norm 1 and corresponds to a non-trivial solution (x0 . p is the integer closest to kα . then all natural √ √ solutions (x. 2 d Example 1. n} such that α − q < (n+1)q . . q) satisfying α − q < q2 . 0 Proof. If α is an arbitrary real number. But if we know the smallest non-trivial solution. The smallest non-trivial solution of the equation x2 −2y2 = 1 is (x.l. Solutions of a Pell’s Equation A Pell’s equation has one trivial solution. corresponding to solution z = 1 of equation N(z) = 1.g. Thus √ √ (3 + 2 2)n + (3 − 2 2)n x= . Therefore √ √ for every solution (x. {α }. Lemma 1 (Dirichlet’s theorem). y) = (1. it is enough to set q = |k − l|. It follows that there are two different ones. 0 Corrolary. y) of the equation are given by x + y d = ±(x0 + y0 d)n . y= 2 2 Now we will show that every Pell’s equation indeed has a non-trivial solution. www. y). 0 0 Then the number z1 = zz−k = zz0 k satisﬁes 1 ≤ z1 < z0 and N(z1 ) = N(z)N(z0 )−k = N(z) = 1. √ z−z Note that z = x + y d determines x and y by the formulas x = z+z and y = 2√d . as usual. y1 ) i (x2 . {2α }. y) there is an integer n such that x + y d = ±(3 + 2 2)n . {x} denote the fractional part of real x. Let. that satisfy x1 ≡ x2 and y1 ≡ y2 (mod n).com Since z is a solution to a Pell-type equation if and only if so is −z.o. we see that there exists an integer n with |n| < 2 d + 1 such that the equation x2 − dy2 = n has inﬁnitely many positive integral solutions (x. {nα }. 1 . There p 1 exist p ∈ Z and q ∈ {1. say√ 1 . Thus all the 2 solutions of the Pell’s equation are given by the formulas x= zn + z0 n 0 2 i y= zn − z0 n 0 √ . (x. we always assume w. 2). Denote (x √ √ z1 = x1 + y1 d and z2 = x2 + y2 d and assume z1 > z2 . y0 ) is the smallest solution of the Pell’s equation with d given. Applying L. then all the elements √ z ∈ Z[ d] with Nz = 1 are given by z = ±zn . √ Theorem 2. y2 ). then we can derive all the solutions. Among the n + 2 numbers 0. 1 Proof. . n ∈ N. 2. and if such are {kα } and 0 or 1. √ √ Proof. 0). There is a unique integer k for which zk ≤ z < zk+1 . Let α be an irrational number and n be a positive integer. If (x0 . A Pell’s equation has a solution in the set of positive integers. y) = (3. Theorem 3. . some two will differ by less than n+1 . . The stated inequality is equivalent to |qα − p| < n+1 . . If such are the numbers {kα } and {l α }.2 Olympiad Training Materials. This is what the following statement claims.imomath. If z0 is the minimal element of Z[ d] with z0 > 1 and N(z0 ) = 1. . In either case. that z > 0. 1]. Proof immediately follows from Dirichlet’s theorem..2 to α = d. y0 ) of the Pell’s equation. n ∈ Z. . It 0 follows from the minimality of z0 that z1 = 1 and hence z = zk . it is enough to set q = k. 1 in the segment [0. Lemma 2.

then there is a solution with |x| ≤ √ 2 z0 √ Proof. Equation x2 − dy2 = −1 has an integral solution if and only if there exists z1 ∈ Z[ d] with z2 = z0 . √ n Solution. Let (x. y) of x2 = ay2 + 1 are given by (x. y1 = b. √ Theorem 4. solve x2 − dy2 = 1 u skupu racionalnih brojeva. For x = 1 we have d = t ∈ Q we easily obtain x = dt 2 +1 dt 2 −1 = x+1 y . y′ ) for some n. 1 Proof. The only z0 √ such solution is z = 3 + 7. deduce that 1 ≤ z1 < z0 . Substituting u = y√ 2x reduces the equation to u2 = 3x2 + 1 whose general solution − √ is given by x + u 3 = (2 + 3)n . Thus it is always sufﬁcient to check ﬁnitely many values of x. then there is m ∈ Z for which a/ z0 ≤ zm z1 < 0 √ √ a z0 . Moreover. we must have z2 = z0 . No knowledge of Pell’s equation is required here. dt 2 −1 3. Then z2 = zm z1 = x + y d is a solution of the equation N(z) = 1 and satisﬁes 0 2|x| = z2 + z0 + 1 a a ≤ √ √ t+ = √ max z2 t z0 [a/ z0 . Solve in integers the equation x2 + y2 − 1 = 4xy. b ∈ N be the smallest integer solution of x2 − dy2 = 1. iy= 2t . Theorem 5. a. it is possible to describe the general solution. Let xn + y′ = a + b d . The mimimal solution of the corresponding Pell’s equation is z0 = 8 + 3 7. We must ﬁnd √ 2 −2 z√ √ the solutions z = x + y 7 of N(z) = 2 satisfying x ≤ 20 +1 a = 3 and y = x 7 ≤ 1. Solution. one can show that all its solutions can be obtained from the solutions z with 1 ≤ z ≤ z0 . Show that if ay2 + 1 is a square for some y ∈ N. n ∈ N. there is a simple upper bound for those x.a z0 ) |a|. For a given integer d. △ 3 Problems with Solutions 1. then y = yn for some n. √ Solution. y) = n (xn . where z0 is the smallest non-trivial solution of Pell’s equation N(z) = 1. b). y x−1 2. When it does. For the other direction we consider the smallest solution z = z1 ∈ √ Z[ d] of the equation N(z) = −1 satisfying z > 1 and. y) = (a. (1) . If z1 is a solution of the equation N(z) = a. like in theorem 2. Find all integer solutions of x2 − 7y2 = 2. z0 + 1 2 −a |a| and the corresponding upper bound for y = x d . We have n 1 y′ = √ n 2 d √ a+b d n √ − a−b d n . Example 2. If a is an integer such that the equation N(z) = x2 − dy2 = a has an integer solution. 1 0 1 Consider the general equation N(z) = a. The ”if” part is trivial. Show that ay2 + 1 is a n square for each n. y) of the given equation are given by √ √ √ x + y 7 = ±(3 + 7)(8 + 3 7)n . Since z = z2 < z2 is a solution of N(z) = 1. It follows that all solutions (x. yn+1 = 2ayn − yn−1 for n ≥ 1. All solutions (x.Duˇan Djuki´ : Pell’s Equation s c 3 2 Pell-type Equations A Pell-type equation in general may not have integer solutions (for example. Consider the sequence deﬁned by y0 = 0. Setting y x−1 Solution. Like in the theorem 1. the equation x2 − 3y2 = 2).

The smallest solution of N(z) = 1 is z0 = a + d. (2n + 3)2 + 1 = 2(2k + 1)2. yi ) √ √ are given by xi + yi 2 = (1 + 2)2i+1 . www. In order for n to be integral. Find all n ∈ N such that n n n =2 + for some natural number k < n. The statement of the problem follows immediately. If n is an integer such that 3n + 1 and 4n + 1 are both squares. Let a ∈ N and d = a2 − 1. l must be odd. then m is a perfect square. Denoting 3n + 1 = a2 and 4n + 1 = b2 we have (2a)2 − 3b2 = 1. n ∈ N. Prove that if m = 2 + 2 28n2 + 1 is an integer for some n ∈ N. prove that |m| is a perfect square. Now we have √ √ m = 2 + (127 + 24 28)k + (127 − 24 28)k = A2 .√ The solutions of the Pell’s √ equation u2 − 3v2 = 1 are given by (u. The pair ( m − 1. Let us ﬁnd all such n. so (2n. If N(z) = m has a solution. As shown already. Prove that if the difference of two consecutive cubes is n2 . relation (1) easily implies that y′ − 2ay′ + yn = 0. Finally. y0 ) = (127. v) = (uk . √ √ where A = (8 + 3 7)k + (8 − 3 7)k is an integer. prove that n is a multiple of 56. Then (2n)2 = 3(2m + 1)2 + 1. √ √ √ √ (1 + 3)2 (2 + 3)2k + (1 − 3)2 (2 − 3)2k − 8 = N2. k−1 k k+1 Solution. there are no other solutions. 8. and thus (x. If x. v2k+1 ). n) must be a 2 2 solution of Pell’s equation x√− 28y2 = 1 whose smallest solution is (x0 . y are integers and the absolute value of m = x2 − dy2 is less than 2a + 2. y) = (a. Solution. then 2n − 1 is a square. b) = (u2k+1 . where we also have √ √ 2u2k+1 = (2 + 3)2k+1 + (2 − 3)2k+1 . 2n − 1 = 4 √ √ √ √ 1 whereby N is an integer: N = (1 + 3)(2 + 3)k + (1 − 3)(2 − 3)k . i. and therefore all its solutions (xi . Solution. We start by ﬁnding those n for which m is an integer. hence √ m k 2 − 1 + n 28 = (127 + 24 28) for some k ∈ N. Prove that 5x2 + 4 or 5x2 − 4 is a perfect square if and only if x is a term in the Fibonacci sequence.e. 1).4 Olympiad Training Materials. . 24). We shall ﬁnd all solutions of x2 − 3b2 = 1 with an even x = 2a. 2m + 1)√ a solution of Pell’s equation x2 − 3y2 = 1. For z0 2 |m| < 2a + 2 this inequality becomes x < a + 1.com √ Since a ± b d are the solutions of the quadratic equation x2 − 2ax + 1 = 0. which is simpliﬁed as n2 + 3n + 2 = 2k2 + 2k. Therefore the sequences (yn ) and (y′ ) satisfy the same n n+2 n+1 initial conditions and recurrent relation and must be equal. where uk + vk 3 = (2 + 3)k . we obtain 2n + (2m + is √ 1) 3 = (2 + 3)l . 4. Let (m + 1)3 − m3 = 3m2 + 3m + 1 = n2 . vk ). 2 9. Solution. so n = xi −3 is an 2 integer and a solution to the problem. Note that xi and yi are always odd. √ Solution. 5. One easily sees that uk is even if and only if k is odd.imomath. Thus (x. then √ z√ by the theorem 5 it also has a solution z = x + y d in which x ≤ 20 +1 |m| = a+1 |m|. 1) and m = 1 or y = 0 and m = x2 . The smallest solution of equation x2 − 2y2 = −1 is (1. It follows that 4n = (2 + √ 2k+1 √ 3) + (2 − 3)2k+1 . Multiplication by (k+1)!(n−k+1)! transforms the equation into k(k + 1) = 2(k + 1)(n − n! k + 1) + (n − k)(n − k + 1). 6. √ 7. Clearly.

Duˇan Djuki´ : Pell’s Equation s c 1 It follows that (a. It follows that x0 − 1 = 2x2 . At most one has a solution. For p = 2. Prove that the equation x2 − dy2 = −1 is solvable in integers if and only if so is x2 − dy2 = −4. x0 ∓ 1 = py2 and x2 − py2 = ±2. x2 − py2 = ±1. x0 − 1 = 2py2 is impossible because it leads to a smaller solution of Pell’s equation: x2 − py2 = 1. y0 ) is the smallest solution of the corresponding Pell’s equation. We shall show that there is a solution for each prime p = 4t + 1. which implies x0 ± 1 = x2 . We observe 0 0 that x0 is odd: otherwise y2 ≡ py2 ≡ 3 (mod 4). b) = ( 1 u2k+1 . If the considered equation has a solution (x. x = y = 1 is a solution. 12. v2k+1 ) and n = 3 (a2 − 1) = 2 1 2 12 (u2k+1 − 4). Prove that if x2 + 1 + 4 is a perfect square. Let p be a prime. i. 0 which is impossible in either case. 13. y). Now if (x0 . if x0 ± 1 are not coprime. The case x0 + 1 = 2x2 . Therefore x0 ± 1 are coprime. Solution.e. the equality (x0 − 1)(x0 + 1) = py2 gives us x0 ± 1 = 2x2 and x0 ∓ 1 = 2py2 . A natural starting point (and the only one we see!) is the existence of an integral solution (x0 . Prove that 3n − 2 is a square only for n = 1 and n = 3. Thus in the relation x2 − 1 = (x0 − 1)(x0 + 1) = 0 0 0 py2 . x0 + 1 = 2py2 and therefore x2 − py2 = −1. 11. Prove that the equation x2 − py2 = −1 has integral solutions if and only if p = 2 or p ≡ 1 (mod 4). 14. then p | x2 + 1. This is very similar to the previous problem. factors x0 + 1 and x0 − 1 have the greatest common divisor 2. and consequently one of 0 them is a doubled square (to be denoted by 2x2 ) and the other one 2p times a square (to be denoted by 2py2 ). then this square equals 9. Solution. y0 ) with x0 . show that exactly one of the equations x2 − py2 = ±2 has an integral solution. 7 + 482 2 2 We thus obtain a simpler expression for n. 5 which yields 48n = = √ √ (7 + 4 3)2k+1 + (7 − 4 3)2k+1 − 14 2k + 1 2k−3 2k + 1 2k−1 2 72k+1 − 7 + 48 7 + ··· . y0 ∈ N to the corresponding Pell’s equation: x2 − py2 = 1. If p is a prime of the form 4k + 3. y2 . making the divisibility by 56 obvious: n= 2k + 1 2k−1 2k + 1 2k−3 72k+1 − 7 +2 7 + 2 · 48 7 + ··· 2 24 2 10. hence either p = 2 or p ≡ 1 (mod 4).