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# Topic M112

Complex Numbers
Contents
1 Basic Denitions 2
1.1 Representation of complex numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2 Operations on complex numbers 4
2.1 Basic operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2.2 Powers and roots of complex numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2.2.1 Powers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2.2.2 Roots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2.2.3 Solution of a binomial equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
3 Geometry of complex numbers 10
3.1 Eulers formula. Rotation as complex multiplication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
3.2 Conjugate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.3 Modulus the distance function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.4 Interpretation of arg

z
1
z
0
z
2
z
0

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
3.5 Lines in the complex plane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
3.6 Circles in the complex plane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1
Basic Denitions 2
1 Basic Denitions
Denition 1 (Complex Number). A complex number is a number given by the expression
z = a +i b, (1)
where a, b R, the set of real numbers, and i is the socalled imaginary unit, which is dened as
i =

1 or i
2
= 1. (2)
The set of all complex numbers is denoted as C. Further, a is called the real part, and b, the
imaginary part of the complex number z. They are denoted, respectively, as follows:
a = Re (z), b = Im(z).
If Re (z) = 0, the complex number z is said to be purely imaginary, while if Im(z) = 0, z is
purely real. Thus, all real numbers are also complex, i.e.
R C.
Two complex numbers z = a + i b and z = a i b that dier solely in the sign of the imaginary
part are called conjugate complex numbers.
We agree upon the two following basic denitions:
1. Two complex numbers z
1
= a
1
+i b
1
and z
2
= a
2
+i b
2
are equal, z
1
= z
2
, if and only if
a
1
= a
2
, and b
1
= b
2
,
that is, if their real parts are equal and their imaginary parts are equal.
2. A complex number z is equal to zero,
z = a +i b = 0
if and only if a = 0, b = 0.
1.1 Representation of complex numbers
1. Geometric representation of complex numbers. Any complex number z = a +i b may
be represented in the xy plane as a point P(a, b) with coordinates a and b. Conversely, every
point M(x, y) of the plane is associated with a unique complex number z = x +i y. Thus, there
is a onetoone correspondence between the set of complex numbers, C, and the xy plane. This
is symbolically shown in Figure 1. The plane on which the complex numbers are represented is
called the plane of the complex variable, z, or the complex plane, or the Argand plane (Figure 1
the encircled z symbol indicates that this plane is the complex plane).
Points of the complex plane lying on the xaxis correspond to real numbers (Im(z) = 0).
Points on the yaxis represent purely imaginary numbers, since Re (z) = 0. Therefore, in the
complex plane, the y axis is called the imaginary axis, and the x axis is the real axis.
Joining the point P(a, b) to the origin O, we get a vector

OA. In certain instances, it is
convenient to treat the vector

OA itself as the geometric representation of the complex number
z = a +i b.
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Basic Denitions 3
O
x
y
Set of complex numbers
z
P(a, b)
z = a + i b
C
Figure 1: The correspondence between the set of complex numbers and
xy plane
a
x
y
P(a, b)
O
r

z
b
Figure 2: The polar and the vec-
tor representation of the complex
number z = a + i b.
2. Trigonometric form of a complex number. Denote by and r (where r 0)
the polar coordinates of the point P(a, b) and consider the origin as the pole and the positive
direction of the x axis, the polar axis. Then (Figure 2) we have the familiar relationships
a = r cos , b = r sin
and, hence, the complex number may be written in the form
z = a +i b = r cos +i r sin or z = r(cos +i sin ). (3)
The expression on the right is called the trigonometric form (or polar form) of the complex
number z = a +i b. r is termed the modulus of the complex number z, while is the argument
(or phase) of the complex number z. They are designated as
r = |z|, = arg(z).
The quantities r and are expressed in terms of a and b as follows:
r =

a
2
+b
2
, = tan
1
b
a
.
To summarize, then,
|z| = |a +i b| =

a
2
+b
2
arg(z) = arg(a +i b) = tan
1
b
a

(4)
The argument of a complex number is considered positive if it measured from the positive x axis
in the counterclockwise, and negative, in the opposite sense. The argument is obviously not
determined uniquely but up to term 2k where k is an integer.
Remark 1. The value of satisfying the inequalities < is termed as the principal
argument.
Remark 2. The conjugate complex numbers z = a + i b and z = a i b have equal moduli
|z| = |z| and their arguments are equal in magnitude but dier in sign: arg(z) = arg(z).
Remark 3. Any real number A can also be written in the polar form, namely:
A =

## |A| (cos 0 +i sin 0) for A > 0

|A| (cos +i sin) for A < 0
(5)
The modulus of the complex number 0 is zero: |0| = 0. Any angle may be taken for the
argument of 0. Indeed for any angle , we have
0 = 0 (cos +i sin).
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Operations on complex numbers 4
2 Operations on complex numbers
2.1 Basic operations
1. Sum of complex numbers. The sum of two complex numbers z
1
= a
1
+i b
1
and z
2
= a
2
+i b
2
is a complex number dened by the equation
z
1
+z
2
= (a
1
+i b
1
) + (a
2
+i b
2
) = (a
1
+a
2
) +i (b
1
+b
2
). (6)
From (6), it follows that the addition of complex numbers depicted as vectors is performed by
the rule of addition vectors (see Figure 3(a)).
z
1
z
2
(a) (b)
z
1
z
2
z
1
+
z
2
Im
Re
O
z
1
z
2
O
Re
Im
Figure 3: The addition and subtraction of complex numbers follow the same rules as those of vectors.
2. Subtraction of complex numbers. The dierence of two complex numbers z
1
= a
1
+i b
1
and z
2
= a
2
+i b
2
is a complex number such that when it is added to z
2
, it yields z
1
.
It is easy to see that
z
1
z
2
= (a
1
+i b
1
) (a
2
+i b
2
) = (a
1
a
2
) +i (b
1
b
2
). (7)
It will be noted that the dierence of two complex numbers z
1
and z
2
is represented by the
displacement vector from the point on the complex plane represented by z
2
to that represented
by z
1
(see Figure 3(b)). Thus, the modulus of z
1
z
2
is the distance between the two points:
|z
1
z
2
| =

(a
1
a
2
)
2
+ (b
1
b
2
)
2
.
3. Multiplication of complex numbers. The product of two complex numbers z
1
= a
1
+i b
1
and z
2
= a
2
+ i b
2
is a complex number obtained when these two numbers are multiplied as
binomials by the rules of algebra, provided that
i
2
= 1, i
3
= i, i
4
= (i
2
)
2
= (1)
2
= 1, i
5
= i , etc.
and, generally, for any integral k,
i
4k
= 1, i
4k+1
= i , i
4k+2
= 1, i
4k+3
= i
From this rule we get
z
1
z
2
= (a
1
+i b
1
)(a
2
+i b
2
) = a
1
a
2
+i b
1
a
2
+i a
1
b
2
+i
2
b
1
b
2
z
1
z
2
= (a
1
a
2
b
1
b
2
) +i (b
1
a
2
+a
1
b
2
) (8)
Let the complex numbers be written in trigonometric form
z
1
= r
1
(cos
1
+i sin
1
), z
2
= r
2
(cos
2
+i sin
2
).
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Operations on complex numbers 5
(a)
O
Re
Im
P
P
1
(z
1
)
P
2
(z
2
)
r
2
r1
E

2
Re
Im
O E
P
1
(z
1
)
P
2
(z
2
)
P

1
r
1
r
2
r
2
r1
(b)
Figure 4: Finding out the product and quotient of complex numbers using similar triangles.
Then using the expression (8), we obtain
z
1
z
2
= r
1
r
2
[(cos
1
cos
2
sin
1
sin
2
) +i (sin
1
cos
2
+ cos
1
sin
2
)]
= r
1
r
2
[cos(
1
+
2
) +i sin(
1
+
2
)] (9)
that is, the product of two complex numbers is a complex number, the modulus of which is equal
to the product of the moduli of the factors, and the argument is equal to the sum of the arguments
of the factors.
Let us derive a geometrical interpretation of the product of two complex numbers. Let P
1
be
the point representing the complex number z
1
while P
2
correspond to z
2
(Figure 4(a)). Let E
be a point on the real axis such that OE = 1 unit. Complete the triangle OP
1
E. Now taking
OP
2
as the base, construct a triangle OPP
2
similar to OP
1
E so that OP : OP
1
= OP
2
: OE.
But, since OE = 1, so we get
OP = OP
1
OP
2
.
Also, P
2
OP = EOP
1
=
1
. Thus,
EOP =
1
+
2
.
Hence, P represents the complex number for which the modulus is r
1
r
2
, and the argument is

1
+
2
. Thus, it represents the complex number z
1
z
2
.
Remark 4. The product of two conjugate complex numbers z = a + i b and z = a i b is, by
virtue of (8), expressed as follows:
z z = a
2
+b
2
z z = |z|
2
= |z|
2
. (10)
4. Division of complex numbers. The division of complex numbers is dened as the inverse
operation of multiplication.
Suppose, we have z
1
= a
1
+ i b
1
, z
2
= a
2
+ i b
2
, |z
2
| =

a
2
2
+b
2
= 0. Then,
z
1
z
2
= z is a
complex number such that z
1
= z
2
z. If
a
1
+i b
1
a
2
+i b
2
= x +i y,
then
a
1
+i b
1
= (a
2
+i b
2
)(x +i y) a
1
+i b
1
= (a
2
x b
2
y) +i (a
2
y +b
2
x).
x and y are found from the system of equations
a
1
= a
2
x b
2
y, b
1
= b
2
x +a
2
y.
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Operations on complex numbers 6
Solving this system of equations, we obtain
x =
a
1
a
2
+b
1
b
2
a
2
2
+b
2
2
, y =
a
2
b
1
a
1
b
2
a
2
2
+b
2
2
,
and nally, we have the quotient
z =
a
1
a
2
+b
1
b
2
a
2
2
+b
2
2
+i
a
2
b
1
a
1
b
2
a
2
2
+b
2
2
(11)
Actually, complex numbers are divided as follows: to divide z
1
= a
1
+ i b
1
by z
2
= a
2
+ i b
2
,
multiply the dividend and divisor by the conjugate of the divisor (that is, by a
2
i b
2
). Then the
divisor will be a real number; dividing the real and imaginary parts of dividend by it, we get the
quotient
a
1
+i b
1
a
2
+i b
2
=
(a
1
+i b
1
)(a
2
i b
2
)
(a
2
+i b
2
)(a
2
i b
2
)
=
(a
1
a
2
+b
1
b
2
) +i (a
2
b
1
a
1
b
2
)
a
2
2
+b
2
2
=
a
1
a
2
+b
1
b
2
a
2
2
+b
2
2
+i
a
2
b
1
a
1
b
2
a
2
2
+b
2
2
If the complex numbers are in trigonometric form
z
1
= r
1
(cos
1
+i sin
1
), z
2
= r
2
(cos
2
+i sin
2
)
then, using (11), we can obtain
z
1
z
2
=
r
1
(cos
1
+i sin
1
)
r
2
(cos
2
+i sin
2
)
=
r
1
r
2
[cos(
1

2
) +i sin(
1

2
)] (12)
Thus, the modulus of the quotient of two complex numbers is equal to the quotient of the moduli of
the dividend and the divisor; the argument of the quotient is the dierence between the arguments
of the divisor and divisor.
We shall use this result to obtain a geometric interpretation of the division of two complex
numbers. As shown in Figure 4(b), let P
1
and P
2
be the axes of z
1
and z
2
respectively. On
OP
1
construct the triangle OPP
1
similar to OEP
2
, where E lies on the real axis and OE = 1.
Now
OP : OE = r
1
: r
2
OP =
r
1
r
2
Also, XOP =
1

2
. The point P thus represents the quotient z
1
/z
2
, since its modulus is
r
1
/r
2
and its argument is
1

2
.
Remark 5. From the rules of operations involving complex numbers it follows that the oper-
ations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of complex numbers yield a complex
number. Also it is easy to show that if each complex number in these expressions is replaced
by its conjugate, then the results of the aforementioned operations will yield conjugate numbers,
whence, as a particular case, we have the following theorem.
Theorem 1. If in a polynomial with real coecients
f(x) = a
n
x
n
+a
n1
x
n1
+ +a
0
we put, in place of x, the number z = a +i b and then its conjugate z = a i b, the results of the
two operations will be mutually conjugate, that is
f(z) = f(z)
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Operations on complex numbers 7
2.2 Powers and roots of complex numbers
2.2.1 Powers
If in the expression (9), we substitute z
1
= z
2
= z = r(cos +i sin ), we obtain
z
2
= r
2
(cos 2 +i sin 2)
Further, z
3
= z
2
z = r
3
(cos 3 + i sin 3). It can be proved by the principle of mathematical
induction that for a positive integer n,
[r(cos +i sin)]
n
= r
n
(cos n +i sin n) (13)
This is called De Moivres formula. It shows that when a complex number is raised to a
positive integral power, the modulus is raised to this power, and the argument is multiplied by the
exponent.
The above formula holds true for negative integers as well. For if n < 0, let n = m for a
positive integer m. Then, for the complex number z = r(cos +i sin ), we proceed as follows:
z
n
= z
m
=
1
z
m
=
1
[r(cos +i sin )]
m
=
1
r
m
(cos m +i sin m)
(using De Moivres formula for positive integer)
= r
m
1
cos m +i sin m

cos m i sin m
cos m i sin m
= r
m
cos m i sin m
cos
2
m + sin
2
m
= r
m
[cos(m) +i sin(m)]
= r
n
(cos n +i sin n) (since m = n)
The validity of De Moivres formula in case of rational n will be taken up once we have discussed
the roots of a complex number. For the moment, consider another application of De Moivres
formula. Setting r = 1, in the formula (13), we get
(cos +i sin)
n
= cos n +i sin n
Expanding the left hand side by the binomial theorem and equating the real and imaginary parts,
we can express sinn and cos n in terms of powers of sin and cos :
cos n =

n
0

cos
n

n
2

cos
n2
sin
2
+

n
4

cos
n4
sin
4
. . . (14)
sin n =

n
1

cos
n1
sin

n
3

cos
n3
sin
3
+

n
5

cos
n5
sin
5
. . . (15)
Here,

n
k

## represents the binomial coecients. For instance, if n = 3, we have

cos
3
+i 3 cos
2
sin 3 cos sin
2
i sin
3
= cos 3 +i sin 3
Making use of the condition for equality of two complex numbers, we get
cos 3 = cos
3
3 cos sin
2

sin 3 = sin
3
+ 3 cos
2
sin
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Operations on complex numbers 8
2.2.2 Roots
The nth root of a complex number is another complex number whose nth power is equal to the
n

## r(cos +i sin) = (cos +i sin )

if
n
(cos n +i sin n) = r(cos +i sin )
Since the moduli of equal complex numbers must be equal, while their arguments may dier by
an integral multiple of 2, we have

n
= r, and n = + 2k where k = 0, 1, 2, . . .
Whence we nd
=
n

r, and =
+ 2k
n
k = 0, 1, 2, . . .
Therefore, we obtain
n

r(cos +i sin ) =
n

cos
+ 2k
n
+i sin
+ 2k
n

(16)
Here
n

r is the principal (positive real) root of the positive number r. Giving k the values 0,
1, 2, . . . , n 1, we get n dierent values of the root. For other values of k, the arguments will
dier from those already obtained by a multiple of 2, and, for this reason, root values will be
obtained that coincide with those already obtained.
Thus, the nth root of a complex number has n distinct values.
The nth root of a real nonzero number real number A also has n values, since a real number is
a special case of a complex number and may be trigonometric form:
if A > 0, then A = |A| (cos 0 +i sin 0)
if A < 0, then A = |A| (cos +i sin )
Example 1. Find all the values of the cube root of unity.
Solution: We represent unity in trigonometric form:
1 = cos 0 +i sin 0
Thus, using (16) we have
3

1 =
3

## cos 0 +i sin 0 = cos

0 + 2k
3
+i sin
0 + 2k
3
, k = 0, 1, 2
Setting the value of k equal to 0, 1, 2, we nd three values of the root:
x
0
= cos 0 +i sin 0 = 1,
x
1
= cos
2
3
+i sin
2
3
=
1
2
+i

3
2
,
x
2
= cos
4
3
+i sin
4
3
=
1
2
i

3
2
1 O
120

Im

2
Re
Usually, the number
1
2
+i

3
2
is denoted as . It is then simple enough to show that

2
=
1
2
i

3
2
Thus the three cube roots of unity are 1, ,
2
. Note that
1 + +
2
= 0, and
3
= 1
These three roots are geometrically represented as in the adjoining gure.
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Operations on complex numbers 9
Getting back to De Moivres theorem, we can now see what will happen if n is a rational
number. Let n =
p
q
where p and q > 0 are integers having no common factors. Then,
(cos +i sin )
n
= (cos +i sin )
p/q
= (cos p +i sin p)
1/q
(De Moivres formula for a positive integer)
= cos
p + 2k
q
+i sin
p + 2k
q
k = 0, 1, 2, . . . , q 1
Thus, when n is rational of the form p/q, there are q distinct values for (cos +i sin )
n
, one of
which is cos n +i sin n.
2.2.3 Solution of a binomial equation
An equation of the form
z
n
= x
0
or z
n
x
0
= 0,
where x
0
is a constant, is called a binomial equation. Let us nd its roots.
If x
0
is a real positive number, then the roots are given by
z
k
=
n

x
0

cos
2k
n
+i sin
2k
n

, k = 0, 1, 2, . . . , n 1
The expression in the brackets gives all the values of the nth roots of unity.
If x
0
is real negative number, then the roots are given by
z
k
=
n

|x
0
|

cos
+ 2k
n
+i sin
+ 2k
n

, k = 0, 1, 2, . . . , n 1
The expression in the brackets gives all the values of the nth roots of 1.
If x
0
is a complex number, then the values of z
k
are found from (16). Once we obtain the
values of z
k
, we can express the binomial f(z) = z
n
x
0
as the product of n linear factors:
z
n
x
0
(z z
0
)(z z
1
)(z z
2
) (z z
n1
) (17)
The nth roots of unity. As an illustration of the solution of a binomial equation, lets solve
the equation
z
n
= 1 or z
n
1 = 0
The roots are given by
z
k
=

cos
2k
n
+i sin
2k
n

, k = 0, 1, 2, . . . , n 1
=

cos
2
n
+i sin
2
n

k
, k = 0, 1, 2, . . . , n 1
Setting cos
2
n
+i sin
2
n
= , the nth roots of unity are 1, ,
2
, . . . ,
n1
.
The sum of the roots,
1 + +
2
+. . . +
n1
=
1
n
1
= 0 (since is a root of z
n
1 = 0)
while the product of the roots is
1
2

n1
=
1+2+3+...+(n1)
=
(n1)n/2
=

n/2

(n1)
=

cos
2
n
+i sin
2
n

n
2

n1
= (cos +i sin )
n1
applying De Moivres formula
= (1)
n1
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Geometry of complex numbers 10
Thus,
z
n
1 = (z 1)(z )(z
2
) (z
n1
).
3 Geometry of complex numbers
3.1 Eulers formula. Rotation as complex multiplication
Eulers formula expresses an exponential function with an imaginary exponent in terms of trigono-
metric functions:
e
i
= cos +i sin (18)
Replacing by in (18), we obtain
e
i
= cos i sin (19)
From (18) and (19), we nd cos and sin :
cos =
e
i
+e
i
2
sin =
e
i
e
i
2i

(20)
These formulae are used in particular to express powers of cos and sin and their products in
terms of the sine and cosine of multiple arcs.
Example 2.
cos
2
y =

e
i y
+e
i y
2

2
=
1
4

e
i 2y
+ 2 +e
i 2y

=
1
4
[(cos 2y +i sin 2y) + 2 + (cos 2y i sin 2y)]
=
1
4
(2 cos 2y + 2) =
1
2
(1 + cos 2y)
Example 3.
cos
2
sin
2
=

e
i
+e
i
2

e
i
e
i
2i

2
=

e
i 2
e
i 2

2
4 4i
2
=
1
8
cos 4 +
1
8
The exponential form of a complex number. Let us represent a complex number in the
trigonometric form
z = r(cos +i sin)
where r is the modulus of the complex number and is the argument. By Eulers formula,
cos +i sin = e
i
. Thus, the complex number can be represented in the socalled exponential
form:
z = re
i
(21)
By the properties of exponentials, it is easy to operate on complex number in exponential form.
For example, for two given z
1
= r
1
e
i
1
and z
2
= r
2
e
i
2
, we have
z
1
z
2
= r
1
e
i
1
r
2
e
i
2
= r
1
r
2
e
i (
1
+
2
)
, and
z
1
z
2
=
r
1
e
i
1
r
2
e
i
2
=
r
1
r
2
e
i (
1

2
)
Interpretation of e
i
as rotation. Consider a real number a. It can be treated as a complex
number and hence represented as a vector

## OA as shown in Figure. Now keeping the tail xed at

Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Geometry of complex numbers 11
the origin, let us rotate it in the anticlockwise direction by an angle . The tip of the vector moves
in a circular path of radius a and ultimately comes to rest at the position P of the complex plane.
Since P lies on the complex plane, it must represented a complex number z whose modulus is
the length of OP = a and whose argument is the angle , i.e. it represents the complex number
z = ae
i
. But then z can be interpreted as the product of the real number a and the unit
modular complex number number e
i
. Thus, multiplication of a real number by the number e
i
amounts to the rotation of the vector representing the real number in the complex plane in the
anticlockwise direction by an angle . Further, taking the multiplication of two complex number
(b)

r
|
z
1
|
z1
zz
1
(a)
y
O
z
x
(a 0)
a

a
P(a e
i
)
y
O
z
x
Figure 5: (a) Multiplying a real number with e
i
has the eect of rotating the vector representing the real
number in the anticlockwise sense by an angle . (b) z
1
is multiplied by z = re
i
resulting in rotation as well as
scaling.
into account, we can generalize to the following statement:
Multiplying a complex number z
1
by another complex number z = re
i
has the eect of scaling
the length of the vector representing z
1
by a factor r and simultaneously rotating it in the
anticlockwise direction by an angle .
Since, i = e
i /2
, therefore, multiplying any number by i has the eect of rotating its vector
representation in the anticlockwise sense by 90

, while multiplying it by 1 = i
2
= i i rotates
in the anticlockwise sense by 180

.
3.2 Conjugate
For the complex number z, we know that z diers z by only the sign of the argument. That
means that the conjugate of re
i
is just re
i
. But that also means that z is just the reection
of z on the real line. It is easy to verify that
z +z = 2Re (z) and z z = 2i Im(z) (22)
z +w = z +w and zw = zw (23)
From the above relations, we see that if z = z, then Im(z) = 0, i.e. z is purely real (only a real
number equals its conjugate). Similarly, if z +z = 0, then z must be purely imaginary.
3.3 Modulus the distance function
We have already noted that for a complex number z, the modulus is given by the relation
|z|
2
= zz,
and |z
1
z
2
| represents the distance between the points in the complex plane representing the
numbers z
1
and z
2
. Looked in this manner, |z| = |z 0| represents the distance of the point z
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Geometry of complex numbers 12
from the origin. The following are some basic properties of the modulus, which can be easily
veried
|z| = |z| = | z| = | z| (24)
|zw| = |z||w| (25)

z
w

=
|z|
|w|
w, z C (26)
A fundamental property of any distance function is that it satises the triangles inequality: for
any two complex numbers z and w, we have
|z +w| |z| +|w| (27)
This is called the triangle inequality because, if we represent z and w by, respectively, the points
P and Q in the complex plane, (27) says that the sum of length of one side of the triangle OPQ
(where O is the origin) is less than the sum of the lengths of the other two sides. Or, the shortest
distance between two points is a straight line.
In order to prove (27), rst observe that, for any z C,
|z| Re (z) |z|, and |z| Im(z) |z| (28)
Hence, Re (zw) |zw| = |z||w|. Thus,
|z +w|
2
= (z +w)(z +w) = zz +zw +wz +ww
= |z|
2
+zw +zw +|w|
2
= |z|
2
+ 2Re (zw) +|w|
2
|z|
2
+ 2|z||w| +|w|
2
= (|z| +|w|)
2
|z +w| |z| +|w|
On encountering an inequality one should ask for necessary and sucient conditions that the
equality holds. From looking at a triangle and considering the geometrical signicance of (27),
we are led to consider the condition for equality that the two complex numbers must be collinear
with the origin, that for some t R, t 0, we must have z = tw (or w = tz, if w = 0). In
fact, if we look at the proof of this inequality, we see that a necessary and sucient condition
for |z +w| = |z| +|w| is that |zw| = Re (zw). This means, that zw must be a nonnegative real
number:
zw 0
Multiplying this by w/w, we get |w|
2
z
w
0 if w = 0. If
t =

1
|w|
2

|w|
2
z
w
then t 0 and z = tw.
By induction, we also get
|z
1
+z
2
+. . . +z
n
| |z
1
| +|z
2
| +. . . +|z
n
| (29)
Also useful is the inequality,

|z| |w|

|z w| (30)
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Geometry of complex numbers 13
3.4 Interpretation of arg

z
1
z
0
z
2
z
0

## By the rule on quotient of two complex numbers z

1
and z
2
, we know that arg

z
1
z
2

gives the
angle between the lines joining the origin O and the representation of z
1
and z
2
. This angle is
measured as one walks from the denominator to the numerator.
Actually, we can interpret the ratio z
1
/z
2
as (z
1
0)/(z
2
0). In this form, it is clear that
z
1
0 is the directed line from the origin to the point z
1
and similarly for z
2
. Thus, we can
generalize the above interpretation that arg

z
1
z
0
z
2
z
0

## represents the angle between the join of

z
0
to z
1
and the join of z
0
to z
2
, as one walks from the denominator to the numerator.
To prove this, let z
0
, z
1
, and z
2
be represented, respectively, as points A, B, and C in the complex
plane (Figure 6(a)). Further, let P and Q represent the complex numbers z
1
z
0
and z
2
z
0
,
respectively. It is obvious that ABC is congruent to OPQ. In triangle, we interpret
z
1
z
0
z
2
z
0
Q(z
2
z
0
)
z z
C(z
2
)
B(z
1
)
A(z
0
)
P(z
1
z
0
)
Re
Im

O
Re
Im
z
2
z
1
z
3
z
4

= arg

z
1
z
2
z
2
z
4

(b) (a)
O
Figure 6: (a) Interpretation of the argument of (z
1
z
0
)/(z
2
z
0
). (b) that of (z
1
z
2
)/(z
3
z
4
)
as the complex number whose modulus is
OP
OQ
while the argument is . Thus
z
1
z
0
z
2
z
0
=
OP
OQ
(cos +i sin ) =
AB
AC
(cos +i sin ) =
|z
1
z
0
|
|z
2
z
0
|
(cos +i sin )
By a similar token, the argument of the complex number
z
1
z
2
z
3
z
4
is the angle between the join
of z
2
to z
1
and z
4
to z
3
as one walks from the denominator to the numerator (see Figure 6(b)).
Remark 6. Three points z
1
, z
2
, and z
3
are collinear if and only if,
arg

z
1
z
3
z
2
z
3

= 0 or
z
1
z
3
z
2
z
3
is purely real.
Remark 7. The line joining z
1
and z
2
is perpendicular to the line joining z
3
and z
4
if and only
if
arg

z
1
z
2
z
3
z
4

2

z
1
z
3
z
2
z
3
is purely imaginary.
3.5 Lines in the complex plane
Let L denote a line in C. We know that a straight line in a plane is uniquely determined two
specied pieces of information. Let us say that we have been specied two complex numbers z
1
and z
2
on L. Now, if z be an arbitrary point on L, then
arg

z z
2
z
1
z
2

= 0 or
z z
2
z
1
z
2
= purely real = t (say), where t
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531
Geometry of complex numbers 14
Solving the last equation for z, we obtain the equation for a straight line in the parametric form:
Parametric form of straight line: z = tz
1
+ (1 t)z
2
, t (31)
Here t is called the parameter. Again, since
z z
2
z
1
z
2
is purely real, we have
z z
2
z
1
z
2
=
z z
2
z
1
z
2
z(z
1
z
2
) z(z
1
z
2
) +z
1
z
2
z
1
z
2
= 0
Thus we obtain the equation in two point form:
Two point form of a straight line: z(z
1
z
2
) z(z
1
z
2
) +z
1
z
2
z
1
z
2
= 0 (32)
Finally, transform left side the above equality as
z(z
1
z
2
) z(z
1
z
2
) +z
1
z
2
z
1
z
2
= z(z
1
z
2
) z(z
1
z
2
) +z
1
z
2
z
1
z
2
= z(z
1
z
2
) z(z
1
z
2
) + 2i Im(z
1
z
2
)
=
1
i
z(z
1
z
2
) +zi (z
1
z
2
) + 2 Im(z
1
z
2
) (dividing by i )
= z

i (z
1
z
2
)

+z

i (z
1
z
2
)

+ 2 Im(z
1
z
2
)
Setting a = i (z
1
z
2
) and b = 2 Im(z
1
z
2
), we obtain the general equation:
General form of straight line: az +az +b = 0, a C, b R (33)
The complex slope of the line joining z
1
and z
2
in the complex plane is dened as
=
z
1
z
2
z
1
z
2
(34)
Thus, for the line represented by (33), the complex slope becomes
=
a
a
(35)
Further, two lines in the complex plane having complex slopes
1
and
2
are
(i) parallel, if
1
=
2
,
(ii) perpendicular, if
1
+
2
= 0.
3.6 Circles in the complex plane
Given the center of the circle, z
0
, and its radius, r, we note that if z be any arbitrary point on
the circle, its distance from the center must be the same as the radius:
Circle: |z z
0
| = r (36)
Transform as follows:
r
2
= |z z
0
|
2
= (z z
0
)(z z
0
)
= zz z
0
z z
0
z +z
0
z
0
Setting a = z
0
, and b = z
0
z
0
r
2
, we obtain the general equation of the circle as
zz +az +az +b = 0, a C, b R (37)
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Geometry of complex numbers 15
having center at the point represented by a and radius as

aa b. Finally, if the end points
of a diameter be given as A(z
1
) and B(z
2
), then the equation of the circle is
(z z
1
)(z z
2
) + (z z
1
)(z z
2
) = 0 (38)
The above equation follows if we take into account the fact that if P(z) be an arbitrary point on
the required circle, then
arg

z z
1
z z
2

2
,
since APB = 90

## , being an angle in a semicircle. Therefore, the complex number

z z
1
z z
2
is
purely imaginary, and so its real part is zero:
z z
1
z z
2
+
z z
1
z z
2
= 0
Rearranging the above expression, (38) follows.
Example 4 (Section formula). The points A and B on the complex plane have axes z
1
and z
2
. Find
the ax of the point P that divides the join of A and B in the ratio m : n, i.e. AP/PB = m/n.
Solution: Let z be the required ax. Then the argument of (z z
1
)/(z
2
z) is zero. Thus
z z
1
z
2
z
=
|z z
1
|
|z
2
z|
(cos 0 +i sin 0) =
|z z
1
|
|z
2
z|
=
PA
BP
=
m
n
Solving for z, we obtain
z =
mz
2
+nz
1
m+n
(39)
Anant Kumar study circle for iitjee & aieee Mob. No. 9932347531