1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Fourier Series problem

  1. Mar 14, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Find the Fourier series for the function

    f(x) = 1/cos(x)

    on the segment [-pi/4, pi/4].

    2. Relevant equations

    A Fourier series for a function f(x) with period 2L has the form:

    (a0/2) + SUM(n=0 to infinity) [ an*cos((n*pi*x)/L) + bn*sin((n*pi*x)/L) ], where:

    an = (1/L) INTEGRAL (-L to L) f(x)cos((n*pi*x)/L) dx for n = 0, 1, 2, ....

    bn = (1/L) INTEGRAL (-L to L) f(x)sin((n*pi*x)/L) dx for n = 0, 1, 2, ...

    3. The attempt at a solution

    By treating the function as (pi/2)-periodic, I used the equation above to get an expression for a0:

    a0 = (4/pi) ln [(sqrt(2)+1)/(sqrt(2) - 1)]

    Also, because f(x) is an even function, we can deduce without any calculation that bn will be zero for all n. So the only thing is to work out an.

    But this is far as I've got. By using the formula above, I have this expression for an:

    an = (4/pi) INTEGRAL (-pi/4 to pi/4) (cos(4nx)/cos(x)) dx

    I don't know how to solve this integral. I know how to do it if n is some small integer; for instance, I can find a1 by integrating cos(4x)/cos(x), using trigonometric identities, but I can't see how to generalise the method. Can anyone help?

    P.S. Sorry I don't know how to use latex, I did try but it came out as a mess.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2009 #2
    Did you try hyperbolic functions? Converting to e's...

    I just looked over...
    Converted 1/cos(x) to the hyerbolic form and used complex form .. and couldn't foresee any big problem
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook