In integral calculus, elliptic integrals originally arose in connection with the problem of giving the arc length of an ellipse. They were first studied by Giulio Fagnano and Leonhard Euler. Modern mathematics defines an "elliptic integral" as any function f which can be expressed in the form
where R is a rational function of its two arguments, P is a polynomial of degree 3 or 4 with no repeated roots, and c is a constant.
In general, integrals in this form cannot be expressed in terms of elementary functions. Exceptions to this general rule are when P has repeated roots, or when R(x,y) contains no odd powers of y. However, with the appropriate reduction formula, every elliptic integral can be brought into a form that involves integrals over rational functions and the three Legendre canonical forms (i.e. the elliptic integrals of the first, second and third kind).
Besides the Legendre form given below, the elliptic integrals may also be expressed in Carlson symmetric form. Additional insight into the theory of the elliptic integral may be gained through the study of the Schwarz–Christoffel mapping. Historically, elliptic functions were discovered as inverse functions of elliptic integrals.
Incomplete elliptic integrals are functions of two arguments; complete elliptic integrals are functions of a single argument. These arguments are expressed in a variety of different but equivalent ways (they give the same elliptic integral). Most texts adhere to a canonical naming scheme, using the following naming conventions.
For expressing one argument:
Each of the above three quantities is completely determined by any of the others (given that they are non-negative). Thus, they can be used interchangeably.
The other argument can likewise be expressed as φ, the amplitude, or as x or u, where x = sin φ = sn u and sn is one of the Jacobian elliptic functions.
Specifying the value of any one of these quantities determines the others. Note that u also depends on m. Some additional relationships involving u include
The latter is sometimes called the delta amplitude and written as Δ(φ) = dn u. Sometimes the literature also refers to the complementary parameter, the complementary modulus, or the complementary modular angle. These are further defined in the article on quarter periods.
Incomplete elliptic integral of the first kind
The incomplete elliptic integral of the first kind F is defined as
This is the trigonometric form of the integral; substituting , one obtains Jacobi's form:
Equivalently, in terms of the amplitude and modular angle one has:
In this notation, the use of a vertical bar as delimiter indicates that the argument following it is the "parameter" (as defined above), while the backslash indicates that it is the modular angle. The use of a semicolon implies that the argument preceding it is the sine of the amplitude:
This potentially confusing use of different argument delimiters is traditional in elliptic integrals and much of the notation is compatible with that used in the reference book by Abramowitz and Stegun and that used in the integral tables by Gradshteyn and Ryzhik.
With one has:
thus, the Jacobian elliptic functions are inverses to the elliptic integrals.
There are still other conventions for the notation of elliptic integrals employed in the literature. The notation with interchanged arguments, F(k,φ), is often encountered; and similarly E(k,φ) for the integral of the second kind. Abramowitz and Stegun substitute the integral of the first kind, F(φ,k), for the argument φ in their definition of the integrals of the second and third kinds, unless this argument is followed by a backslash: i.e. E(F(φ,k) | k2) for E(φ | k2). Moreover, their complete integrals employ the parameter k2 as argument in place of the modulus k, i.e. K(k2) rather than K(k). And the integral of the third kind defined by Gradshteyn and Ryzhik, Π(φ,n,k), puts the amplitude φ first and not the "characteristic" n.
Thus one must be careful with the notation when using these functions, because various reputable references and software packages use different conventions in the definitions of the elliptic functions. For example, some references, and Wolfram's Mathematica software and Wolfram Alpha, define the complete elliptic integral of the first kind in terms of the parameter m, instead of the elliptic modulus k.
Incomplete elliptic integral of the second kind
The incomplete elliptic integral of the second kind E in trigonometric form is
Substituting , one obtains Jacobi's form:
Equivalently, in terms of the amplitude and modular angle:
Relations with the Jacobi elliptic functions include
The meridian arc length from the equator to latitude is written in terms of E:
where a is the semi-major axis, and e is the eccentricity.
Incomplete elliptic integral of the third kind
The incomplete elliptic integral of the third kind Π is
- , or
The number n is called the characteristic and can take on any value, independently of the other arguments. Note though that the value is infinite, for any m.
A relation with the Jacobian elliptic functions is
The meridian arc length from the equator to latitude is also related to a special case of Π:
Complete elliptic integral of the first kind
Elliptic Integrals are said to be 'complete' when the amplitude φ=π/2 and therefore x=1. The complete elliptic integral of the first kind K may thus be defined as
or more compactly in terms of the incomplete integral of the first kind as
It can be expressed as a power series
where Pn is the Legendre polynomial, which is equivalent to
where n!! denotes the semifactorial. In terms of the Gauss hypergeometric function, the complete elliptic integral of the first kind can be expressed as
The complete elliptic integral of the first kind is sometimes called the quarter period. It can most efficiently be computed in terms of the arithmetic-geometric mean:
Relation to Jacobi θ-function
The relation to Jacobi's θ function is given by
where the nome q is
This approximation has a relative precision better than 3×10-4 for k < 1/2. Keeping only the first two terms is correct to 0.01 precision for k < 1/2.
Derivative and differential equation
A second solution to this equation is .
Complete elliptic integral of the second kind
The complete elliptic integral of the second kind E is defined as
or more compactly in terms of the incomplete integral of the second kind as
For an ellipse with semi-major axis and semi-minor axis and eccentricity , the complete elliptic integral of the second kind is equal to one quarter of the circumference of the ellipse measured in units of the semi-major axis . In other words:
The complete elliptic integral of the second kind can be expressed as a power series
which is equivalent to
In terms of the Gauss hypergeometric function, the complete elliptic integral of the second kind can be expressed as
The complete elliptic integral of the second kind can be very efficiently computed by a modification of the arithmetic-geometric mean.
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Derivative and differential equation
A second solution to this equation is .
Complete elliptic integral of the third kind
The complete elliptic integral of the third kind Π can be defined as
Note that sometimes the elliptic integral of the third kind is defined with an inverse sign for the characteristic n,
- Izrail' Solomonovich Gradshteyn and Iosif Moiseevich Ryzhik, Tablitsy integralov, summ, ryadov i proizvedeniy [Tables of integrals, sums, series and products], 5th edition (Moscow, Nauka, 1971). (See chapter 8.1).
- Harris Hancock Lectures on the theory of Elliptic functions (New York, J. Wiley & sons, 1910)
- Alfred George Greenhill The applications of elliptic functions (New York, Macmillan, 1892)
- Louis V. King On The Direct Numerical Calculation Of Elliptic Functions And Integrals (Cambridge University Press, 1924)