14.3 The trigonometric form of a complex number
When we say (also known as \sayz is defined as ), and can be anything! For example, and could equal and respectively. By setting different values of theta, we can obtain any point on a circle with radius 1, and centre . For example, if we have , then to obtain the number , we can just set . To be able to obtain every complex number, however, we need to introduce a second variable (which we can call ). This \sayscales the circle, so that for each value of , the values of between and ( is not inclusive) we can obtain a circle with that radius. Overall, we can write any complex number in the form
Additionally, we can do this with and .
To find the trigonometric form of a given complex number there are two ways.
To convert a complex number (e.g. ) into trigonometric form, the first way algebra is to use algebra (in particular \saycomparing coefficients). By comparing with , we obtain that and that . Thus
from which we can deduce that . The other thing we can do is divide through, thus obtaining that , and thus that (which is ). Overall, we can then write that
which we can also do for any complex number.
The second way involves geometry (I still need to find where I originally wrote my notes on this, but the method is to draw the complex number - not necessary, but usually helpful - and to then find the modulus and argument of the complex number). First we can apply this useful fact:
For a complex number , and
The proof is definitely not relevant for any A Level examination, but it’s also not too difficult.
First we prove that . We know that for a complex number , there are several cases for the argument (rather unfortunately we need to consider each quadrant separately)
In the first case, , where . For our , this means
(14.38) (14.39) (14.40)
TODO: go through the other three cases
Second we prove that . This proof is quite a bit more satisfying than the previous proof, we just apply the definition of the modulus, that is that
(14.41) (14.42) (14.43) (14.44)
Note that we also defined (well, hopefully we did) and thus(14.45)
14.3.1 Using the trigonometric form of a complex number
This is probably not the most exciting example, but we might want to consider the case of
If we can write this in trigonometric form, then by 14.3.1 we can just read the argument and modulus. Examining the expression, it looks pretty close to something in the form
The only problem we have is that there’s a pesky negative hanging around in there, but not to worry, we can apply two useful facts here; and (these two equations are referred to as the \sayeven and \sayodd property of and respectively - see Section 14.7.3 for a proof of this).
Therefore, we can rewrite
Therefore the argument is