topic entry on complex analysis


Complex analysis may be defined as the study of analytic functionsMathworldPlanetmath of a complex variable. The origins of this subject lie in the observation that, given a functionMathworldPlanetmath which has a convergentMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath Taylor seriesMathworldPlanetmath, one can substitute complex numbersMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath for the variable and obtain a convergent seriesMathworldPlanetmath which defines a function of a complex variable. Putting imaginary numbersMathworldPlanetmath into the power seriesMathworldPlanetmath for the exponential functionDlmfDlmfMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath, we find

eix = 1+ix-x22-ix33!+x44!+ix55!-x66!-ix77!+
e-ix = 1-ix-x22+ix33!+x44!-ix55!-x66!+ix77!+

Adding and subtracting these series, we find

12(eix+e-ix) = 1-x22!+x44!-x66!+-
12i(eix-e-ix) = x-x33!+x55!-x77!+-

We recognize these series as the Taylor-Madhava series for the sine and the cosine functions respectively. We hence have

sinx = 12i(eix-e-ix)
cosx = 12(eix+e-ix)
eix = cosx+isinx.

These equations let us re-express trigonometric functionsDlmfMathworldPlanetmath in terms of complex exponentialsMathworldPlanetmath. Using them, deriving and verifying trigonometric identities becomes a straightforward exercise in algebra using the laws of exponents.

We call functions of a complex variable which can be expressed in terms of a power series as complex analytic. More precisely, if D is an open subset of , we say that a function f:D is complex analytic if, for every point w in D, there exists a positive number δ and a sequenceMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath of complex numbers ck such that the series


converges to f(z) when  zD  and  |z-w|<δ.

An important feature of this definition is that it is not required that a single series works for all points of D. For instance, suppose we define the function  f:{1}  as


While it it turns out that f is analytic, no single series will give us the values of f for all allowed values of z. For instance, we have the familiar geometric seriesMathworldPlanetmath:


However, this series diverges when  |z|>1.  For such values of z, we need to use other series. For instance, when z is near 2, we have the following series:


This series, however, diverges when  |z-2|>1.  While, for every allowed value of z we can find some power series which will converge to f(z), no single power series will converge to f(z) for all permissible values of z.

It is possible to define the operations of differentiationMathworldPlanetmath and integration for complex functions. These operations are well-defined for analytic functions and have the usual properties familiar from real analysis.

The class of analytic functions is interesting to study for at least two main reasons. Firstly, many functions which arise in pure and applied mathematics, such as polynomialsPlanetmathPlanetmath, rational functions, exponential functions. logarithmsMathworldPlanetmath, trigonometric functions, and solutions of differential equations are analytic. Second, the class of analytic functions enjoys many remarkable properties which do not hold for other classes of functions, such as the following:


The class of complex analytic functions is closed under the usual algebraic operations, taking derivative and integralsDlmfPlanetmath, compositionMathworldPlanetmath, and taking uniform limits.


Given a complex analytic function  f:D, where D is an open subset of ,  if we know the values of f at an infinite number of points of D which have a limit pointMathworldPlanetmath in D, then we know the value of f at all points of D. For instance, given a complex analytic function on some neighborhoodMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath of the real axis, the values of that function in the whole neighborhood will be determined by its values on the real axis.

Cauchy and Morera theorems

The integral of a complex analytic function along any contractible closed loop equals zero. Conversely, if the integral of a complex function about every contractible loop happens to be zero, then that function is analytic.

Complex differentiability

If a complex function is differentiableMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath, then it has derivatives of all orders. This contrasts sharply with the case of real analysis, where a function may be differentiable only a fixed number of times.


The real and imaginary partsDlmfMathworld of a complex analytic function are harmonic, i.e. satisfy Laplace’s equation. Conversely, given a harmonic functionPlanetmathPlanetmath on the plane, there exists a complex analytic function of which it is the real part.

Conformal mappingMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath

A complex function is analytic if and only if it preserves maps pairs of intersecting curves into pairs which intersect at the same angle.

As one can see, there are many ways to characterize complex analytic functions, many of which have nothing to do with power series. This suggests that analytic functions are somehow a naturally occurring subset of complex functions. This variety of distinct ways of characterizing analytic functions means that one has a variety of methods which may be used to study them and prove deep and surprising results by bringing insights and techniques from geometry, differential equations, and functional analysis to bear on problems of complex analysis. This also works the other way — one can use complex analysis to prove results in other branches of mathmatics which have nothing to do with complex numbers. For instance, the problem of minimal surfaces can be solved by using complex analysis.

0.1 Complex numbers

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    topologyMathworldPlanetmath of the complex plane

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    nth root (

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    taking square rootMathworldPlanetmath algebraically

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    complex function (

0.2 Complex functions

0.3 Analytic function

0.4 Complex integration

0.5 Analytic continuation

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    example of analytic continuation

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    analytic continuation of Riemann zeta to critical stripMathworldPlanetmath

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    analytic continuation of Riemann zeta (using integral) (

0.6 Riemann zeta function

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    Riemann functional equation (

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    critical strip

  5. 5. of the Riemann zeta function at 0, 2, 4

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    formulae for zeta in the critical strip

0.7 Conformal mapping

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    conformal mapping

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    example of conformal mapping

  5. 5.–Christoffel transformation

Title topic entry on complex analysis
Canonical name TopicEntryOnComplexAnalysis
Date of creation 2013-05-20 18:11:35
Last modified on 2013-05-20 18:11:35
Owner pahio (2872)
Last modified by unlord (1)
Numerical id 60
Author pahio (1)
Entry type Topic
Classification msc 30A99
Related topic HarmonicConjugateFunction
Related topic TakingSquareRootAlgebraically
Related topic CalculatingTheNthRootsOfAComplexNumber
Related topic FundamentalTheoremOfAlgebra
Related topic FundamentalTheoremsInComplexAnalysis
Defines complex analytic