# Modulus of the difference of two complex numbers

by Fourthkind
Tags: argand diagram, complex numbers, demoivre's theorem, geometry, polar coordinates
 P: 5 Hi guys, I've been trying to help a friend with something that I learnt in class but I'm now finding it hard to solve myself. The problem goes as follows: Use geometry to show that |z3-z-3| = 2sin3θ For z=cisθ, 0<θ<∏/6 Now, I chose ∏/12 as my angle and plotted all this on an Argand diagram, but I don't know how to prove that |z3-z-3| = 2sin3θ in such general form. I know that it is right, but I don't know how to get there. Right now I have a isosceles triangle with two lengths known and two angles known (both 3θ). I know the triangle is right-angled but I don't know if I can use this information since that is specific to my chosen angle, right? I've spent quite some time on it and I'd really like to understand it. So far I've got xsin3θ=1 where x = |z3-z-3|. Please help!
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 Quote by Fourthkind Hi guys, I've been trying to help a friend with something that I learnt in class but I'm now finding it hard to solve myself. The problem goes as follows: Use geometry to show that |z3-z-3| = 2sin3θ For z=cisθ, 0<θ<∏/6 if $z= cis(\theta)$ then $z^3= cis(3\theta)$ and $z^{-3}= cis(-3\theta)[/tex] Do you understand what "cis" means? This takes about one line from that. You don't need to do anything at all with "Argand diagrams". If z= cis(θ) then [itex]z^3= cis(3\theta)$ and $z^{-3}= cis(-3\theta)$ so that $z^3- z^{-3}= cis(3\theta)- cis(-3\theta)$. Write that out in terms of the definition of "ciz".

 Now, I chose ∏/12 as my angle and plotted all this on an Argand diagram, but I don't know how to prove that |z3-z-3| = 2sin3θ in such general form. I know that it is right, but I don't know how to get there. Right now I have a isosceles triangle with two lengths known and two angles known (both 3θ). I know the triangle is right-angled but I don't know if I can use this information since that is specific to my chosen angle, right? I've spent quite some time on it and I'd really like to understand it. So far I've got xsin3θ=1 where x = |z3-z-3|. Please help!
P: 5
 Quote by HallsofIvy Do you understand what "cis" means? This takes about one line from that. You don't need to do anything at all with "Argand diagrams". If z= cis(θ) then $z^3= cis(3\theta)$ and $z^{-3}= cis(-3\theta)$ so that $z^3- z^{-3}= cis(3\theta)- cis(-3\theta)$. Write that out in terms of the definition of "ciz".
Could you explain this a little more?

I managed to solve it by drawing a rhombus with |$z^3- z^{-3}$|being the vertical length along the imaginary axis from the origin to the point $z^3- z^{-3}$ (by definition) then drawing a perpendicular bisector (that is, parallel to the real axis) which created four right-angled triangles with their 90° angles joined to the midpoint between the origin and point $z^3- z^{-3}$. Using one of these triangles, I determined the length of OM was $sin3θ$ and therefore O to $z^3- z^{-3}$ was twice that since M is the midpoint. I solved it like this since the problem stated it needed to be solved using geometry specifically.

I'll attach a picture to show you what I mean. It doesn't show in it but, line OA is equal in length to $z^{3}$
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## Modulus of the difference of two complex numbers

You didn't say "the problem stated it needed to be solved using geometry specifically"!

My idea was $z^3- z^{-3}= cis(3\theta)- cis(-3\theta)= cos(3\theta)+ sin(3\theta)- (cos(-3\theta)+ sin(-3\theta)$$= cos(3\theta)+ sin(3\theta)- cos(3\theta)+ sin(3\theta)= 2sin(3\theta)$.
P: 5
 Quote by Fourthkind Use geometry to show that |z3-z-3| = 2sin3θ
So I assumed I had to do it in a way similar to the way I did.

 Quote by HallsofIvy My idea was $z^3- z^{-3}= cis(3\theta)- cis(-3\theta)= cos(3\theta)+ sin(3\theta)- (cos(-3\theta)+ sin(-3\theta)$$= cos(3\theta)+ sin(3\theta)- cos(3\theta)+ sin(3\theta)= 2sin(3\theta)$.
This is probably stupid but when I do it that way, I end up with $2isin3θ$ since:
$z^3- z^{-3}= cis(3\theta)- cis(-3\theta)= cos(3\theta)+ isin(3\theta)- (cos(-3\theta)+ isin(-3\theta)$$= cos(3\theta)+ isin(3\theta)- cos(3\theta)+ isin(3\theta)= 2isin(3\theta)$

My class just recently started our complex number topic and so my knowledge of $cis$ is extremely basic. Should I not be writing $z^3$ as $cos3θ+isin3θ$.

 Quote by Fourthkind This is probably stupid but when I do it that way, I end up with $2isin3θ$ since: $z^3- z^{-3}= cis(3\theta)- cis(-3\theta)= cos(3\theta)+ isin(3\theta)- (cos(-3\theta)+ isin(-3\theta)$$= cos(3\theta)+ isin(3\theta)- cos(3\theta)+ isin(3\theta)= 2isin(3\theta)$