How I Impressed My Wife: Part 6a

This series was inspired by a question that my wife asked me: calculate

Q = \displaystyle \int_0^{2\pi} \frac{dx}{\cos^2 x + 2 a \sin x \cos x + (a^2 + b^2) \sin^2 x}

Originally, I multiplied the top and bottom of the integrand by \tan^2 x and performed a substitution. However, as I’ve discussed in this series, there are four different ways that this integral can be evaluated.
Starting with today’s post, I’ll begin a fifth method. I really like this integral, as it illustrates so many different techniques of integration as well as the trigonometric tricks necessary for computing some integrals.
green lineSince Q is independent of a, I can substitute any convenient value of a that I want without changing the value of Q. As shown in previous posts, substituting a =0 yields the following simplification:

Q = \displaystyle \int_0^{2\pi} \frac{dx}{\cos^2 x + 2 a \sin x \cos x + (a^2 + b^2) \sin^2 x}

= \displaystyle \int_{0}^{2\pi} \frac{dx}{\cos^2 x + 2 \cdot 0 \cdot \sin x \cos x + (0^2 + b^2) \sin^2 x}

= \displaystyle \int_{0}^{2\pi} \frac{dx}{\cos^2 x + b^2 \sin^2 x}

= \displaystyle \int_{-\pi}^{\pi} \frac{dx}{\cos^2 x + b^2 \sin^2 x}

= \displaystyle \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{ 2(1+u^2) du}{u^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) u^2 + 1}

Earlier, I evaluated this last integral using partial fractions, separating into the cases |b| = 1, |b| > 1, and |b| < 1. Now, I’ll calculate this same integral using contour integration. (See Wikipedia and Mathworld for more details.)

It turns out that Q can be rewritten as

Q = \displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \oint_{C_R} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1},

where C_R is the contour in the complex plane shown above (graphic courtesy of Mathworld). That’s because

\displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \oint_{C_R} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1}

= \displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \int_{-R}^R \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1} + \lim_{R \to \infty} \int_{\gamma_R} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1}

= \displaystyle \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1} + \lim_{R \to \infty} \int_{\gamma_R} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) du}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1}

= Q + \displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \int_{\gamma_R} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1}

To show that the limit of the last integral is equal to 0, I use the parameterization z = R e^{i \theta}, so that dz = i R e^{i \theta}:

\displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \left| \int_{\gamma_R} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1} \right|

= \displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \left| \int_0^{\pi} \frac{ 2R(1+R^2 e^{2i\theta}) d\theta}{R^4 e^{4 i\theta} + (4 b^2 - 2) R^2 e^{2i\theta} + 1} \right|

\le \displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \pi \max_{0 \le \theta \le \pi} \left| \frac{ 2R(1+R^2 e^{2i\theta})}{R^4 e^{4 i\theta} + (4 b^2 - 2) R^2 e^{2i\theta} + 1} \right|

= \displaystyle \pi \max_{0 \le \theta \le \pi} \lim_{R \to \infty} \left| \frac{ 2R(1+R^2 e^{2i\theta})}{R^4 e^{4 i\theta} + (4 b^2 - 2) R^2 e^{2i\theta} + 1} \right|

= \displaystyle \pi \max_{0 \le \theta \le \pi} 0

= 0.

The above limit is equal to zero because the numerator grows like R^3 while the denominator grows like R^4. (This can be more laboriously established using L’Hopital’s rule).

Therefore, I have shown that

Q = \displaystyle \lim_{R \to \infty} \oint_{C_R} \frac{ 2(1+z^2) dz}{z^4 + (4 b^2 - 2) z^2 + 1},

and this contour integral can be computed using residues.

green line

I’ll continue with this fifth evaluation of the integral, starting with the case |b| = 1, in tomorrow’s post.

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1 Comment

  1. How I Impressed My Wife: Index | Mean Green Math

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