b
2
4ac
2a
(1.1)
For example, with a = 1, b = 4, c = 13 we nd that the roots of
x
2
4x 13 = 0
are
x = 2
17.
1
If we try to solve
x
2
+2x +2 = 0
in the same way (by inserting a = 1, b = 2 and c = 2 into equation
(1.1)) then we arrive at the solutions
x = 1
1.
The number
1 is not dened if we are restricted to the familiar real
numbers that we use to represent physical quantities (lengths, masses,
voltages etc.). In other words, the equation x
2
+ 2x + 2 = 0 has no
solutions that are real numbers.
2
This encourages us to extend the real numbers by introducing a new
number i, called the unit imaginary number), which is dened by the
condition
i
2
= 1.
The roots of x
2
+2x +2 = 0 are then
x = 1 i.
This is an example of a complex number.
Complex numbers do not directly describe quantities measured in the
real world, but are used to simplify many complicated engineering and
mathematical problems.
For example, you will see in later maths modules that complex num
bers are tremendously important for solving problems related to vibra
ting or oscillating systems.
Engineers often write j instead of i.
3
1.1 Algebra of complex numbers
An arbitrary complex number is written in the form
z = x +iy,
where x and y are real numbers.
x is the real part of z, denoted Re(z)
y is the imaginary part of z, denoted Im(z).
A real number is just a complex number with imaginary part y = 0!
4
1.1.1 Equality
Two complex numbers z
1
= x
1
+ iy
1
and z
2
= x
2
+ iy
2
are said to be
equal if
x
1
= x
2
and y
1
= y
2
,
i.e. if real parts are equal and imaginary parts are equal.
1.1.2 Addition
The sum of two complex numbers is dened by
z
1
+z
2
= (x
1
+x
2
) +i(y
1
+y
2
)
= (sum of real parts)
+i(sum of imaginary parts)
E.g.
(3 +4i) +(1 2i) = (3 +1) +i(4 2)
= 4 +2i
5
1.1.3 Subtraction
z
1
z
2
= (x
1
x
2
) +i(y
1
y
2
)
1.1.4 Multiplication
Brackets can be expanded as in ordinary arithmetic. For example, the
product of z
1
= 2 +3i and z
2
= 1 i is
z
1
z
2
= (2 +3i)(1 i)
= 2(1 i) +3i(1 i)
= 2 2i +3i 3i
2
But i
2
= 1 and so
z
1
z
2
= (2 (3)) +i(2 +3) = 5 +i
6
For general z
1
= x
1
+iy
1
and z
2
= x
2
+iy
2
,
z
1
z
2
= (x
1
+iy
1
)(x
2
+iy
2
)
= (x
1
+iy
1
)x
2
+(x
1
+iy
1
)iy
2
= x
1
x
2
+ix
2
y
1
+ix
1
y
2
+i
2
y
1
y
2
Remembering i
2
= 1,
z
1
z
2
= (x
1
x
2
y
1
y
2
) +i(x
1
y
2
+x
2
y
1
)
7
1.1.5 The complex conjugate
Given a complex number
z = x +iy,
with real numbers x and y, we dene its complex conjugate to be
z = x iy,
ie we replace y by y.
Examples (1) If z = 1 +2i then z = 1 2i
(2) If z = 1 i then z = 1 +i
Useful Identity: as a special case of (a +b)(a b) = a
2
b
2
we have
z z = (x +iy)(x iy)
= x
2
(iy)
2
= x
2
i
2
y
2
= x
2
(1)y
2
= x
2
+y
2
Note that this number is
real,
nonnegative (i.e. z z 0) .
8
1.1.6 Division
The general formula for the division of two arbitrary complex numbers
z
1
z
2
=
x
1
+iy
1
x
2
+iy
2
is too complicated to be of any practical use, and division of complex
numbers is best illustrated using concrete examples.
Example z
1
= 5 +i z
2
= 1 i
Write the fraction out and multiply above and below by the complex
conjugate of the denominator.
z
1
z
2
=
5 +i
1 i
=
(5 +i)(1 +i)
(1 i)(1 +i)
=
5 +i +5i 1
1 +1
=
4 +6i
2
= 2 +3i
9
1.1.7 Algebra and conjugation
When taking the complex conjugate of an algebraic expression, we
can replace i by i before or after doing the algebraic operations. For
example,
z
1
+z
2
= z
1
+ z
2
z
1
z
2
= z
1
z
2
z
1
/z
2
= z
1
/ z
2
Application If z is a root of the polynomial equation
az
2
+bz +c = 0
with real coecients a, b and c, then z is also a root because
0 = az
2
+bz +c
= a z
2
+
b z +c
= a z
2
+b z +c
10
1.2 The Argand diagram (Complex plane)
A general complex number z = x +iy has two components (real part,
imaginary part) so we can represent it as a point in the plane with
Cartesian coordinates (x, y).
y
x
O
z=x+iy
Real axis
Imaginary axis
Examples 4 2i (4, 2) and i (0, 1)
11
Recall that the complex conjugate of z = x +iy is z = x iy, so
z (x, y) z (x, y).
To obtain the complex conjugate, reect in xaxis (Real axis).
Re(z)
Im(z)
z
2
1
z
1
z
2
z
12
We can also describe points in the complex plane with polar coordina
tes (r, ).
For z = x +iy, real part is x = r cos
imaginary part is y = r sin
r =
x
2
+y
2
tan = y
x
Im
Re
z=x+iy
r
s
i
n
r cos
z = r cos +ir sin is in polar form.
Note also that z = r cos() +ir sin() = r cos ir sin.
13
The length r =
x
2
+y
2
is called the modulus of z and is denoted
by z. It is the distance from the point representing z to the origin. It
is always nonnegative!
z = x +iy =
x
2
+y
2
=
z z.
(See section 1.1.5 for z z = x
2
+y
2
.)
The polar angle is called the argument of z.
argz = arg(x +iy) = , where tan =
y
x
.
Finding the argument requires care: There are many solutions to the
equation tan = y
0 /2
15
The argument is not unique: We can add any integer multiple of 2
to the argument, without changing our complex number. We should
therefore say an argument rather than the argument.
If < , the value of is called the principal argument.
arg(+ve real number) = 0
arg(ve real number) =
Remark: The use of r and is not restricted to complex numbers.
Even in the real xy plane, r and are sometimes used. In this case, x
and y are called cartesian coordinates, while r and are called polar
coordinates.
When talking about the real xy plane, it is usual to restrict the angle
to 0 < 2. But remember that for the principal argument of a
complex number, we always have < !
16
Revision: exponential function
Exponential function f(x) = expx may be written as an innite series
expx = e
x
= 1 +x +
x
2
2!
+
x
3
3!
+
x
4
4!
+ .
Exponential function is denoted by
f(x) = e
x
or expx.
The function f(x) = e
x
is just 1
e
x
.
Note the important properties
e
a+b
= e
a
e
b
(e
a
)
b
= e
ab
.
17
1.3 Eulers formula
This says
e
i
= cos +i sin.
This formula makes certain calculations with complex numbers easier.
1
Re
Im
sin
cos
e
i
Properties of e
i
: For any real angle , we have
e
i
 =  cos +i sin =
cos
2
+sin
2
= 1
and arg(e
i
) = .
18
A complex number in polar form
z = r cos +ir sin,
where r = z and = arg(z), may alternatively be written
z = re
i
,
in which case it may be said to be in exponential form.
Note: z = r cos ir sin = re
i
.
Example Write z = 1 +i in exponential form.
We have
arg(z) = 3/4 and z =
2
So in exponential form, z =
2e
3i/4
.
19
Products of complex numbers
Suppose we have two complex numbers,
z
1
= x
1
+iy
1
= r
1
e
i
1
and
z
2
= x
2
+iy
2
= r
2
e
i
2
.
The product is
z
1
z
2
= (r
1
e
i
1
)(r
2
e
i
2
)
= r
1
r
2
e
i
1
e
i
2
= r
1
r
2
e
i(
1
+
2
)
using e
a
e
b
= e
a+b
.
20
In other words,
modulus of z
1
z
2
= modulus z
1
modulus z
2
i.e. z
1
z
2
 = z
1
 z
2

arg(z
1
z
2
) = arg(z
1
) +arg(z
2
)
21
1.4 De Moivres theorem
Let z = re
i
. Consider z
n
.
Since z = r(cos +i sin), then
z
n
= r
n
(cos +i sin)
n
. (1.2)
But also
z
n
= (re
i
)
n
= r
n
(e
i
)
n
= r
n
e
in
using (e
a
)
b
= e
ab
= r
n
(cos n +i sinn). (1.3)
By equating (1.2) and (1.3), we nd:
de Moivres theorem: If n is any integer then
(cos +i sin)
n
= (cos n +i sinn).
22
Example
Write 1 + i in polar form and use de Moivres theorem to calculate
(1 +i)
15
.
1 +i =
1 +1 =
2
arg (1 +i) = /4
So 1 +i =
2(cos
4
+i sin
4
) =
2e
i
4
and
(1 +i)
15
= (
2)
15
cos
4
+i sin
15
= 2
15/2
cos
15
4
+i sin
15
4
= 2
7
(1 i)
= 128 128i.
23
Example
Use de Moivres theorem to show that
cos 2 = cos
2
sin
2
and
sin2 = 2sin cos .
Solution Let n = 2 in de Moivres theorem:
(cos +i sin)
2
= cos
2
+2i sin cos sin
2
,
and hence
cos
2
sin
2
+2i sin cos = cos 2 +i sin2.
Real part: cos
2
sin
2
= cos 2
Imaginary part: 2sin cos = sin2
24
1.5 Complex roots of polynomials
Which complex numbers z satisfy
z
3
= 8i?
Solution
Since powers are easy in exponential notation, strategy is to write each
side in that form and equate.
Step 1
Write 8i in exponential form,
8i = 8, arg(8i) = /2.
Hence 8i = 8e
i(/2)
.
Step 2
Let the solution be z = re
i
(where r and are to be determined).
Then z
3
= r
3
e
3i
.
25
Step 3
In exponential notation, z
3
= 8i then becomes
r
3
e
3i
= 8e
i/2
.
(i) Compare modulus: r
3
= 8 r = 2.
N.B. r 0 must always be satised.
(ii) Compare argument: When is
e
3i
= e
i(/2)
?
Certainly 3 = /2 is a solution, but there are others! Since
e
i(/2)
= e
i(/2+2n)
we get a solution whenever
3 =
2
+2n =
6
+
2n
3
for any integer n.
26
n = 0: = /6
z = 2e
i/6
= 2(cos(/6) +i sin(/6))
=
3 +i
n = 1: = /6 +2/3 = 5/6
z = 2e
5i/6
= 2(cos(5/6) +i sin(5/6))
=
3 +i
n = 2: = /6 +4/3 = 3/2
z = 2e
3i/2
= 2(cos(3/2) +i sin(3/2)) = 2i
n = 3: = /6 +6/3 = /6 +2: as n = 0
n = 4: as n = 1 etc
27
Step 4
There are three solutions:
z =
3 +i, z =
3 +i, z = 2i.
Im
Re
3 +i 
2i
3 +i
28
Example
Solve
z
4
= 1
Solution
Step 1
Write 1 in exponential form:
 1 = 1, arg(1) = .
Hence 1 = 1e
i
.
Step 2
Let the solution be z = re
i
. Then z
4
= r
4
e
4i
.
29
Step 3
Compare both sides of z
4
= 1 using exponential notation
r
4
e
4i
= 1e
i
= 1e
i(+2n)
.
(i) Compare modulus: r
4
= 1 r = 1.
N.B. r 0 must always be satised.
(ii) Compare argument: Remember there is more than one solution!
e
4i
= 1e
i(+2n)
4 = +2n =
4
+
n
2
.
n = 0: = /4
z = e
i/4
= cos(/4) +i sin(/4)
=
1
2
+
i
2
30
n = 1: = 3/4
z = e
3i/4
= cos(3/4) +i sin(3/4)
=
1
2
+
i
2
n = 2: = 5/4
z = e
5i/4
= cos(5/4) +i sin(5/4)
=
1
2
n = 3: = 7/4
z = e
7i/4
= cos(7/4) +i sin(7/4)
=
1
2
n = 4: as n = 0 etc
31
Step 4
There are four solutions: z =
1
2
+
i
2
,
1
2
+
i
2
,
2
,
1
2
.
2 2
1

i

Im
Re

i

+
i
+
2
2 2
1
1
2
i
1
2
2
32
Note: For the cubic equation z
3
= 8i we found three solutions and for
the quartic equation z
4
= 1 we found four.
In general an nth order polynomial has exactly n complex roots.
Of course, some of these complex roots may be real numbers (real
numbers are just complex numbers with zero imaginary part).
33