Operation with Complex Numbers

So far, we have dealt with real numbers such as:

Operation with Complex Numbers Operation with Complex Numbers

Create learning materials about Operation with Complex Numbers with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Contents
Table of contents

    In this section, we shall look at a new concept called an imaginary number. Consider the square root of 2. We know that this yields the non-repeating decimal

    Now, what is the square root of -2? You might think that there is no solution to the square root of a negative number. However, this is not true! In fact, this is where the imaginary number comes into play. The concept of an imaginary number stems from the imaginary unit, denoted by the letter i, and is represented by the following derivation:

    Thus, the square root of -2 is simply

    As a matter of fact, we can add real and imaginary numbers together. This structure of numbers leads us to the idea of a complex number.

    A complex number is an algebraic expression that includes the factor i = √-1 and is written in the form z = a + bi.

    Standard Form of Complex Numbers

    The standard form of complex numbers is

    where

    • Re (z) = a is the real part of the complex number z

    • Im (z) = b is the imaginary part of the complex number z

    This is also denoted by

    Real and Imaginary Numbers

    There are two important subclasses of complex numbers: for a complex number z = a + bi

    • If Im (z) = 0, then z = a is a real number

    • If Re (z) = 0, then z = bi is said to be purely imaginary

    Why are Complex Numbers Important?

    Complex numbers have a range of applications. For instance, they are widely used in the field of electrical engineering and quantum mechanics. Complex numbers also help us solve polynomial equations that do not have any real solutions: have a look at Graph and Solve Quadratic Equations which explains how to do this.

    We can conduct basic arithmetic operations with complex numbers such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

    Operations with Complex Numbers; Addition and Subtraction

    In this section we will explain the most important operations you should be able to perform with complex numbers:

    • Addition and subtraction of complex numbers
    • Scalar multiplication
    • Multiplication and division of complex numbers

    Addition and Subtraction of Complex Numbers

    To add complex numbers, simply add the corresponding real and imaginary parts. The same rule applies when subtracting complex numbers.

    Let z1 and z2 be two complex numbers with z1 = a + bi and z2 = c + di, where a, b, c, and d are real numbers.

    Addition of Complex Numbers Formula

    Distributing the positive sign in the second term (to both the real and imaginary parts) and collecting like terms, we obtain

    Subtraction of Complex Numbers Formula

    Distributing the negative sign in the second term (to both the real and imaginary parts) and collecting like terms, we obtain

    Let α = 3 - 2i and β = 5 + 7i be two complex numbers

    Calculate α + β

    Determine α - β

    Scalar Multiplication of Complex Numbers

    The Scalar Multiplication of Complex Numbers is the multiplication of a real number and a complex number. In this case, the real number is also called the scalar.

    To multiply a complex number by a scalar, simply multiply both the real and imaginary parts by the scalar separately.

    Let z = a + bi be a complex number and c be a scalar, where a, b and c are real numbers.

    Scalar Multiplication of Complex Numbers Formula

    Let α = 3 - 2i and β = 5 + 7i be two complex numbers

    Find 7α

    In this case, we are multiplying the complex number α by the real number 7 (also called scalar).

    Evaluate 2β

    In this case, we are multiplying the complex number β by the real number 2 (also called scalar).

    Multiplication of Complex Numbers

    Multiplying complex numbers is exactly the same as the binomial expansion technique: apply the FOIL method and combine like terms.

    Multiplication of Complex Numbers Formula

    This is how the FOIL method works, step-by-step.

    Let z1 and z2 be two complex numbers with z1 = a + bi and z2 = c + di, where a, b, c, and d are real numbers. To multiply them

    1. Write both in the standard form.
    2. Perform the binomial expansion.
    3. Combine like terms.

    Noting that i2 = -1, we obtain

    Simplifying this, we get

    Let α = 3 - 2i and β = 5 + 7i be two complex numbers.

    Find α x β

    Division of Complex Numbers

    If you have a fraction of complex numbers, multiply the numerator and denominator by the complex conjugate of the denominator.

    For a complex number z = a + bi, the complex conjugate of z is denoted by z* = a - bi.

    After that, expand and simplify the expression to the standard form of complex numbers. The result is given by the following formula:

    Division of Complex Numbers Formula

    When dividing complex numbers be sure to write the final answer in its standard form.

    Let's see in practice and step-by-step how to perform complex numbers division. Let z1 and z2 be two complex numbers with z1 = a + bi and z2 = c + di, where a, b, c, and d are real numbers. Dividing z1 by z2, we obtain

    The complex conjugate of the denominator, z2 is z2* = c - di.

    Now multiplying both the numerator and denominator by z2*, we get

    Expanding this expression, we obtain

    Finally, combining like terms, we have

    Let α = 3 - 2i and β = 5 + 7i be two complex numbers. Here, β is the denominator. The complex conjugate of β is β* = 5 - 7i.

    Calculate α ÷ β

    Here, β is the denominator. The complex conjugate of β is β* = 5 - 7i. Thus, multiplying the numerator and denominator by β* yields:

    Operation with Complex Numbers - Key takeaways

    OperationFormula
    Addition
    Subtraction
    Scalar Multiplication
    Multiplication
    Division
    Frequently Asked Questions about Operation with Complex Numbers

    How do you do operations with complex numbers?

    How to do operations with complex numbers: To conduct operations with complex numbers, we must first identify the real and imaginary parts of the complex number.

    How do you divide operations with complex numbers?

    How to divide complex numbers:

    1. Multiply the numerator and denominator by the complex conjugate
    2. Expand and simplify the expression
    3. Write the final answer in standard form as a + bi

    What are the mathematical operations of complex numbers? 

    Operations with complex numbers include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

    How do you solve operations with complex numbers?

    How to solve operations with complex numbers: To solve operations with complex numbers, we must first identify the real part and imaginary part of the complex number and then perform the given arithmetic procedure

    What are the rules of complex numbers? 

    The rules of a complex number refer to the relationship between a given complex number say z = a + bi and its complex conjugate z* = a - bi.

    Discover learning materials with the free StudySmarter app

    Sign up for free
    1
    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Math Teachers

    • 5 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    Get unlimited access with a free StudySmarter account.

    • Instant access to millions of learning materials.
    • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams, AI tools and more.
    • Everything you need to ace your exams.
    Second Popup Banner