Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A Long wavelength limit

  1. Aug 30, 2017 #1
    In the "Introduction to Solid State Physics" by C. Kittel, there is a long wavelength limit in chapter 4 -Phonons I.

    When Ka << 1 we can expand cos Ka ≡ 1 - ½ (Ka)2

    the dispersion relation will become ω2 = (C/M) K2 a2

    Does anyone know what frequencies can allow this long wavelength limit to hold?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2017 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    I am not sure that there is a standard, since it likely depends on your application.
    This is simply the Taylor approximation of the cosine function:
    ## \cos x = 1 - \frac12 x^2 + \frac{1}{24}x^4 - \frac{1}{720}x^6 ...##
    Therefore, you can cut off the higher order terms whenever you feel they are small enough to be insignificant.
    For example, when x = .1, your third term is less than .00001. Maybe this is small enough to disregard for your application. Maybe you need your error to be less than 10^-12. Then you should only apply the approximation when x is on the order of 10^-3.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted