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Homework Help: Ln(i) in rectangular form

  1. Aug 21, 2012 #1
    Express in the following form z = x + iy:

    q. ln(i)

    This question came up in an exam i had today.. dont think i answered it correctly though!

    i went for the euler relation:

    e^i*θ = cos(θ) + i*sin(θ)

    next i set θ = 1 and found the natural log of the equation twice

    ln(i) = ln(ln(cos(1) + i*sin(1)))

    My calculator wasn't good enough to work this out without returning a math error, so i left it in that form (except i think i calculated the trig functions)

    Can anyone shine some light on this problem?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2012 #2


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    Homework Helper

    You're using the wrong approach.

    First, recognise that the complex logarithm is a multi-valued function. They might be asking you to find the principal value, or the general value. For completeness, you should state both.

    Start by expressing "i" itself in exponential form. What are the magnitude and argument of i?
  4. Aug 21, 2012 #3
    One thing to note is that [itex]e^{i\pi/2}=i[/itex]. What is the log of i then?
    Note: Can you confirm that [itex]e^{i\pi/2}=i[/itex] and not [itex]e^{i\pi/2}=-i[/itex]?
  5. Aug 21, 2012 #4


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    Science Advisor

    More generally, [itex]i= e^{i(\pi/2+ 2k\pi)}[/itex] for any integer k (thus giving what Curious3141 called the "general form").

  6. Aug 21, 2012 #5


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    Actually, a helpful way of looking at logz is that it gives you the coordinates

    of the point z --radius and argument . But, since, as curious said, logz is multivalued,

    you need to select a branch in which to define the argument. If you choose, e.g.,

    (-Pi,Pi) , your argument is the angle (starting at Pi) between the positive x-axis and

  7. Aug 21, 2012 #6
    When ln (or Log) is used, instead of log, it is understood that the principal value of the logarithm is given.
    i = e^{i \frac{\pi}{2}}
  8. Aug 21, 2012 #7
    My statement still holds. In fact, I wanted the OP to understand that on his own.
  9. Aug 21, 2012 #8
    That is way wrong. Just use the formula for the complex logarithm and use [itex]\log[/itex] and not ln except when you're referring to the natural log of a real number:


    and where [itex]\theta[/itex] is the principal argument of z. Now, since i on the Argand diagram is located at the point (0,1), that means it's principal argument is pi/2 so there you have it and that [itex]2n\pi i[/itex] part is to account for the multivaluedness of log but if you just want the principal value, set n=0.
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