# Anharmonic Oscillation

## Homework Statement

Assume that the potential is symmetric with respect to zero and the system has amplitude ##a## suppose that ##V(x)=x^4## and the mass of the particle is ##m=1##. Write a java function that calculates the period of the oscillator for given amplitude ##a## using Gaussian quadrature with ##N=20## points.

## Homework Equations

##E = \frac12 m(\frac{dx}{dt})^2+V(x)##
##T=\sqrt{8m}\int^a_0\frac{dx}{\sqrt{V(a)-V(x)}}.##

## The Attempt at a Solution

I don't have much experience with numerical methods so I am having difficulty understanding the question and how to proceed.

Is the question asking instead of using ##T##, i.e the period given by : ##T=\sqrt{8m}\int^a_0\frac{dx}{\sqrt{V(a)-V(x)}}##, we instead must use the Gaussian quadrature of ##T##? Also, will ##T=\sqrt{8m}\int^a_0\frac{dx}{\sqrt{V(a)-V(x)}}## work for a nonquadratic function ##V(x)##?

stevendaryl
Staff Emeritus
The method of Gaussian quadratures is (in my opinion) a really difficult way to efficiently compute integrals numerically. I think it's too complicated to explain in a message. The basic idea is simple enough: You can approximate an integral

$\int_{a}^b f(x) dx = \sum_{i=1}^N w_i f(x_i)$ where $x_1, x_2, ...$ are points in the interval $[a,b]$ and $w_i$ is a weighting function. The simplest approach is the "rectangle rule", which uses $w_i = \frac{b-a}{N}$ and $x_i = a + i \cdot \frac{b-a}{N}$. Gaussian quadrature is a way to get a much more accurate approximation by choosing $w_i$ and $x_i$ in a more sophisticated way, but it's beyond me to explain how to do it in a post.

As to the second question, if a particle goes from $a$ to $b$ and back, then the time taken for a full period is twice the time to go from $a$ to $b$. To compute that time, you use:

$T = 2 \int dt = \int_a^b \frac{dt}{dx} dx = \int_a^b \frac{1}{v} dx$ where $v = \frac{dx}{dt}$. To compute $v$, you use conservation of energy:

$E = \frac{1}{2} m v^2 + V$
$v = \sqrt{\frac{2}{m} (E - V)}$

So $T = 2 \int_a^b \sqrt{\frac{m}{2(E-V)}} dx$

If the potential is symmetric about x=0, then you can just do half the integral and double it:

$T = 4 \int_0^b \sqrt{\frac{m}{2(E-V)}} dx$

So it works no matter what the potential $V$ is--it doesn't have to be quadratic.

The method of Gaussian quadratures is (in my opinion) a really difficult way to efficiently compute integrals numerically. I think it's too complicated to explain in a message. The basic idea is simple enough: You can approximate an integral

$\int_{a}^b f(x) dx = \sum_{i=1}^N w_i f(x_i)$ where $x_1, x_2, ...$ are points in the interval $[a,b]$ and $w_i$ is a weighting function. The simplest approach is the "rectangle rule", which uses $w_i = \frac{b-a}{N}$ and $x_i = a + i \cdot \frac{b-a}{N}$. Gaussian quadrature is a way to get a much more accurate approximation by choosing $w_i$ and $x_i$ in a more sophisticated way, but it's beyond me to explain how to do it in a post.

As to the second question, if a particle goes from $a$ to $b$ and back, then the time taken for a full period is twice the time to go from $a$ to $b$. To compute that time, you use:

$T = 2 \int dt = \int_a^b \frac{dt}{dx} dx = \int_a^b \frac{1}{v} dx$ where $v = \frac{dx}{dt}$. To compute $v$, you use conservation of energy:

$E = \frac{1}{2} m v^2 + V$
$v = \sqrt{\frac{2}{m} (E - V)}$

So $T = 2 \int_a^b \sqrt{\frac{m}{2(E-V)}} dx$

If the potential is symmetric about x=0, then you can just do half the integral and double it:

$T = 4 \int_0^b \sqrt{\frac{m}{2(E-V)}} dx$

So it works no matter what the potential $V$ is--it doesn't have to be quadratic.

I see, thank you very much!

So our weighted function for this particular question will be ##w_i = \frac{b-a}{N} = \frac{a-0}{20}## which implies ##
\int_{a}^b f(x) dx = \sum_{i=1}^N w_i f(x_i) = \sum_{i=1}^{20} \frac{a-0}{20}\sqrt{8 \dot\ (1)}\frac{1}{\sqrt{V(a)-V(x_i = 0 +i\frac{a-0}{N})}}?##

BvU
Homework Helper
Wouldn't count as a gaussian quadrature in my book. (a/20 is equal weights) But I wouldn't know how to do it more sophisticated, sorry.

stevendaryl
Staff Emeritus