Legendre function

In physical science and mathematics, the Legendre functions Pλ, Qλ and associated Legendre functions Pμ
λ
, Qμ
λ
, and Legendre functions of the second kind, Qn, are all solutions of Legendre's differential equation. The Legendre polynomials and the associated Legendre polynomials are also solutions of the differential equation in special cases, which, by virtue of being polynomials, have a large number of additional properties, mathematical structure, and applications. For these polynomial solutions, see the separate Wikipedia articles.

Associated Legendre polynomial curves for l=5.

Legendre's differential equationEdit

The general Legendre equation reads

 

where the numbers λ and μ may be complex, and are called the degree and order of the relevant function, respectively. The polynomial solutions when λ is an integer (denoted n), and μ=0 are the Legendre polynomials Pn; and when λ is an integer (denoted n), and μ=m is also an integer with |m| < n are the associated Legendre polynomials. All other cases of λ and μ can be discussed as one, and the solutions are written Pμ
λ
, Qμ
λ
. If μ=0, the superscript is omitted, and one writes just Pλ, Qλ. However, the solution Qλ when λ is an integer is often discussed separately as Legendre's function of the second kind, and denoted Qn.

This is a second order linear equation with three regular singular points (at 1, −1, and ∞). Like all such equations, it can be converted into a hypergeometric differential equation by a change of variable, and its solutions can be expressed using hypergeometric functions.

Solutions of the differential equationEdit

Since the differential equation is linear and of second order, it has two linearly independent solutions, which can both be expressed in terms of the hypergeometric function,  . With   being the gamma function, the first solution is

 

and the second is,

 

These are generally known as Legendre functions of the first and second kind of noninteger degree, with the additional qualifier 'associated' if μ is non-zero. A useful relation between the P and Q solutions is Whipple's formula.

Legendre functions of the second kind (Qn)Edit

The nonpolynomial solution for the special case of integer degree  , and  , is often discussed separately. It is given by

 

This solution is necessarily singular when  .

The Legendre functions of the second kind can also be defined recursively via Bonnet's recursion formula

 


Graphs of the first five functions are given below.


Associated Legendre functions of the second kindEdit

The nonpolynomial solution for the special case of integer degree  , and   is given by

 

Integral representationsEdit

The Legendre functions can be written as contour integrals. For example,

 

where the contour winds around the points 1 and z in the positive direction and does not wind around −1. For real x, we have

 

Legendre function as charactersEdit

The real integral representation of   are very useful in the study of harmonic analysis on   where   is the double coset space of   (see Zonal spherical function). Actually the Fourier transform on   is given by

 

where

 

ReferencesEdit

  • Abramowitz, Milton; Stegun, Irene Ann, eds. (1983) [June 1964]. "Chapter 8". Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables. Applied Mathematics Series. 55 (Ninth reprint with additional corrections of tenth original printing with corrections (December 1972); first ed.). Washington D.C.; New York: United States Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards; Dover Publications. p. 332. ISBN 978-0-486-61272-0. LCCN 64-60036. MR 0167642. LCCN 65-12253.
  • Courant, Richard; Hilbert, David (1953), Methods of Mathematical Physics, Volume 1, New York: Interscience Publisher, Inc.
  • Dunster, T. M. (2010), "Legendre and Related Functions", in Olver, Frank W. J.; Lozier, Daniel M.; Boisvert, Ronald F.; Clark, Charles W. (eds.), NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-19225-5, MR 2723248
  • Ivanov, A.B. (2001) [1994], "L/l058030", in Hazewinkel, Michiel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. / Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-1-55608-010-4
  • Snow, Chester (1952) [1942], Hypergeometric and Legendre functions with applications to integral equations of potential theory, National Bureau of Standards Applied Mathematics Series, No. 19, Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, MR 0048145
  • Whittaker, E. T.; Watson, G. N. (1963), A Course in Modern Analysis, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-58807-2

External linksEdit