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The Complex

Plane;
DeMoivre's
Theorem

Remember a complex number has a real part and an


imaginary part. These are used to plot complex
numbers on a complex plane.

z x yi

z x y
2

Imaginary
Axis
z

z x yi
y

Real
Axis

The magnitude or modulus


of z denoted by z is the
distance from the origin to
the point (x, y).
The angle formed from the
real axis and a line from the
origin to (x, y) is called the
argument of z, with
requirement that 0 < 2.

y
tan
x
1

modified for quadrant


and so that it is
between 0 and 2

z x yi

We can take complex numbers given as


and convert them to polar form. Recall the conversions:

x r cos

Imaginary
Axis
z =r
1
x
3

z r cos r sin i

y r sin
factor r out

r cos i sin

The magnitude or modulus of


z is the same as r.
y

Plot the complex number: z 3 i


Real
Axis Find the polar form of this
number.

5
5

z 2 cos
i sin

6
6

1 4 2
2

1
tan
but in Quad II
3
5

6
1

The Principal Argument is between - and


Imaginary
Axis

1
tan
but in Quad II
3
1

z =r
1
x
3

Real
Axis

5
5
arg z
principal arg
6
6

5
5

z 2 cos
i sin

6
6

It is easy to convert from polar to rectangular form


because you just work the trig functions and distribute
the r through.

5
5

3 1
z 2 cos
i sin
i 3 i
2
2 2
6
6

1
2

2
3

5
6

If asked to plot the point and it


is in polar form, you would
plot the angle and radius.
Notice that is the same as
plotting

3 i

Let's try multiplying two complex numbers in polar


form together.

z1 r1 cos 1 i sin 1

z 2 r2 cos 2 i sin 2

z1 z2 r1 cos 1 i sin 1

r2 cos 2 i sin 2

Look at where
andwhere
we
ended
up and
r1r2 we
cosstarted
1 i sin
cos

i
sin

1
2
2
see if you can make a statement
as to what
happens
to
Must
FOIL
these two complex
the r 's and the 's when
you
multiply
numbers.
r1r2 cos 1 cos 2 i sin 2 cos 1 i sin 1 cos 2 i 2 sin 1 sin 2

Replace i 2 with -1 and group real terms and then imaginary terms

Multiply the Moduli and Add the Arguments


r1r2 cos 1 cos 2 sin 1 sin 2 sin 1 cos 2 cos 1 sin 2 i
use sum formula for cos

use sum formula for sin

r1r2 cos1 2 i sin 1 2

Let z1 r1 cos 1 i sin 1 and z 2 r2 cos 2 i sin 2


be two complex numbers. Then

z1 z 2 r1r2 cos1 2 i sin 1 2


(This says to multiply two complex numbers in polar
form, multiply the moduli and add the arguments)

If z 2 0, then

z1 r1
cos1 2 i sin1 2
z2 r2
(This says to divide two complex numbers in polar form,
divide the moduli and subtract the arguments)

Let z1 r1 cos 1 i sin 1 and z 2 r2 cos 2 i sin 2


be two complex numbers. Then

z1 z 2 r1r2 cos1 2 i sin 1 2


z1 z 2 r1r2 cis1 2
If z 2 0, then

z1 r1
cos1 2 i sin1 2
z2 r2
z1 r1
cis1 2
z 2 r2

If z 4 cos 40 i sin 40 and w 6 cos120 i sin 120 ,

find : (a) zw

(b) z w

o
o
o
o

zw 4 cos 40 i sin 40 6 cos120 i sin120

4 6 cos 40 120 i sin 40 120


multiply the moduli

add the arguments


(the i sine term will have same argument)

24 cos160 i sin160

24 0.93969 0.34202i

22.55 8.21i

If you want the answer


in rectangular
coordinates simply
compute the trig
functions and multiply
the 24 through.

4 cos 40 i sin 40
z

w 6 cos120o i sin 120o

4
o
o
o
o
cos 40 120 i sin 40 120
6
divide the moduli

subtract the arguments

2
cos 80o i sin 80o
3

In polar form we want an angle between 0 and 180


PRINCIPAL ARGUMENT
In rectangular
coordinates:

2
0.1736 0.9848i 0.12 0.66i
3

You can repeat this process raising


complex numbers to powers. Abraham
DeMoivre did this and proved the
following theorem:
Abraham de Moivre
(1667 - 1754)

DeMoivres Theorem

If z r cos i sin is a complex number,


then

z r cos n i sin n
n

where n 1 is a positive integer.

This says to raise a complex number to a power, raise the


modulus to that power and multiply the argument by that
power.

This theorem is used to raise complex numbers


to powers. It would be a lot of work to find

3 i

3 i

3 i

3 i

3 i

you would need to FOIL


and multiply all of these
together and simplify
powers of i --- UGH!

Instead let's convert to polar form


and use DeMoivre's Theorem.
1
2
tan 1
but in Quad II 5
2
r 3 1 4 2
3
6


5
5
3 i 2 cos i sin
6
6

4

10
10
16 cos
i sin

3
3

5
5

2 cos 4 i sin 4
6
6

16

2
2

8 8 3i

Solve the following over the set of complex numbers:


We know that if we cube root both sides we
could get 1 but we know that there are 3
roots. So we want the complex cube roots of
1.

z 1
3

Using DeMoivre's Theorem with the power being a


rational exponent (and therefore meaning a root), we can
develop a method for finding complex roots. This leads
to the following formula:

2k
2k
z k r cos
i sin

n
n
n
n

where k 0, 1, 2, , n 1

Let's try this on our problem. We want the cube roots of 1.


We want cube root so our n = 3. Can you convert 1 to
polar form? (hint: 1 = 1 + 0i)
1 0
2
2
tan 0
r 1 0 1
1

0 2k
0 2k
z k 1 cos
i sin

3
3
3
3

, for k 0, 1, 2

Once we build the formula, we use it first


with k = 0 and get one root, then with k = 1
to get the second root and finally with k = 2
for last root.

We want cube
root so use 3
numbers here

2k
2k
z k r cos
i sin

n
n
n
n

0 2k
0 2k
z k 1 cos
i sin

3
3
3
3

0 2 0
z0 1 cos
3
3

0 2 0
i sin
3

0 21
i sin
3
3
2
3

1 cos 0 i sin 0 1
Here's the root we
already knew.

1
3

i

2 2

0 2 2
i sin
3

1
3
4
4
1 cos
i
i sin

2 2
3
3

, for k 0, 1, 2

0 21
z1 1 cos

3
3

1 cos

i
sin

0 2 2
3
z 2 1 cos
3
3

If you cube any of


these numbers
you get 1.
(Try it and see!)

We found the cube roots of 1 were:


Let's plot these on the complex
plane
each line is 1/2 unit

1
3
1
3
1,
i,
i
2 2
2 2
about 0.9
Notice each of
the complex
roots has the
same magnitude
(1). Also the
three points are
evenly spaced
on a circle. This
will always be
true of complex
roots.

Acknowledgement
I wish to thank Shawna Haider from Salt Lake Community College, Utah
USA for her hard work in creating this PowerPoint.
www.slcc.edu
Shawna has kindly given permission for this resource to be downloaded
from www.mathxtc.com and for it to be modified to suit the Western
Australian Mathematics Curriculum.

Stephen Corcoran
Head of Mathematics
St Stephens School Carramar
www.ststephens.wa.edu.au