Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

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Physics : Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

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Example 12.3.1 EARTH’S GRAVITATIONAL FIELD 

An example of a Legendre series is provided by the description of the Earth’s gravitational potential U (for exterior points), neglecting azimuthal effects. With

R = equatorial radius = 6378.1 ± 0.1km

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

we write

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev          (12.52)

a Legendre series. Artificial satellite motions have shown that

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

This is the famous pear-shaped deformation of the Earth. Other coefficients have been computed through n = 20. Note that P1 is omitted because the origin from which r is measured is the Earth’s center of mass ( P1 would represent a displacement).
More recent satellite data permit a determination of the longitudinal dependence of the Earth’s gravitational field. Such dependence may be described by a Laplace series.

 

Example 12.3.2 SPHERE IN A UNIFORM FIELD 

Another illustration of the use of Legendre polynomials is provided by the problem of a neutral conducting sphere (radius r0 ) placed in a (previously) uniform electric field (Fig. 12.8). The problem is to find the new, perturbed, electrostatic potential. If we call the electrostatic potential V , it satisfies

2 V = 0,                       (12.53)

Laplace’s equation. We select spherical polar coordinates because of the spherical shape of the conductor. (This will simplify the application of the boundary condition at the surface of the conductor.) Separating variables and glancing at Table 9.2, we can write the unknown potential V(r, θ ) in the region outside the sphere as a linear combination of solutions:

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

FIGURE 12.8 Conducting sphere in a uniform field.

 

No ϕ -dependence appears because of the axial symmetry of our problem. (The center of the conducting sphere is taken as the origin and the z-axis is oriented parallel to the original uniform field.) It might be noted here that n is an integer, because only for integral n is the θ dependence well behaved at cos θ =±1. For nonintegral n the solutions of Legendre’s equation diverge at the ends of the interval [−1, 1], the poles θ = 0,π of the sphere. It is for this same reason that the second solution of Legendre’s equation, Qn , is also excluded.
Now we turn to our (Dirichlet) boundary conditions to determine the unknown an and bn of our series solution, Eq. (12.54). If the original, unperturbed electrostatic field is E0 , we require, as one boundary condition,

V(r →∞) =−E0z =−E0r cos θ =−E0rP1(cos θ). (12.55)

Since our Legendre series is unique, we may equate coefficients of Pn (cos θ) in Eq. (12.54) (r →∞) and Eq. (12.55) to obtain

an = 0,n > 1 and n = 0,a1 =−E0. (12.56)

If an ≠ 0 for n> 1, these terms would dominate at large r and the boundary condition (Eq. (12.55)) could not be satisfied.
As a second boundary condition, we may choose the conducting sphere and the plane θ = π/2 to be at zero potential, which means that Eq. (12.54) now becomes

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

In order that this may hold for all values of θ , each coefficient of Pn (cos θ) must vanish.12

Hence

b0 = 0,13         bn = 0,            n ≥ 2,                          (12.58)

whereas

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev           (12.59)

The electrostatic potential (outside the sphere) is then

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev      (12.60)

it was shown that a solution of Laplace’s equation that satisfied the boundary conditions over the entire boundary was unique. The electrostatic potential V ,asgiven by Eq. (12.60), is a solution of Laplace’s equation. It satisfies our boundary conditions and therefore is the solution of Laplace’s equation for this problem.

It may further be shown that there is an induced surface charge density

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev        (12.61)

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

 

ELECTROSTATIC POTENTIAL OF A RING OF CHARGE 

As a further example, consider the electrostatic potential produced by a conducting ring carrying a total electric charge q (Fig. 12.9). From electrostatics the potential ψ satisfies Laplace’s equation. Separating variables in spherical polar coordinates (compare Table 9.2), we obtain

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev            (12.63a)

Here a is the radius of the ring that is assumed to be in the θ = π/2 plane. There is no ϕ (azimuthal) dependence because of the cylindrical symmetry of the system. The terms with positive exponent in the radial dependence have been rejected because the potential must have an asymptotic behavior,

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev              (12.63b)

The problem is to determine the coefficients cn in Eq. (12.63a). This may be done by evaluating ψ(r, θ ) at θ = 0,r = z, and comparing with an independent calculation of the

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

FIGURE 12.9 : Charged, conducting ring.

potential from Coulomb’s law. In effect, we are using a boundary condition along the z - axis. From Coulomb’s law (with all charge equidistant),

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

The last step uses the result of Exercise 8.1.15. Now, Eq. (12.63a) evaluated at θ = 0,r = z (with Pn (1) = 1), yields

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev        (12.63d)

Comparing Eqs. (12.63c) and (12.63d), we get c= 0 for n odd. Setting n = 2s ,wehave

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev             (12.63e)

and our electrostatic potential ψ(r, θ ) is given by

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

The magnetic analog of this problem appears in Example 12.5.3.

ALTERNATE DEFINITIONS OF LEGENDRE POLYNOMIALS

Rodrigues’ Formula

The series form of the Legendre polynomials (Eq. (12.8)) of Section 12.1 may be transformed as follows. From Eq. (12.8),

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev  (12.64)

For n an integer,

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

Note the extension of the upper limit. The reader is asked to show in Exercise 12.4.1 that the additional terms [n/2]+ 1to n in the summation contribute nothing. However, the effect of these extra terms is to permit the replacement of the new summation by (x 2 − 1)n (binomial theorem once again) to obtain

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev            (12.65)

This is Rodrigues’ formula. It is useful in proving many of the properties of the Legendre polynomials, such as orthogonality. The Rodrigues definition is define the associated Legendre functions.  it is used to identify the orbital angular momentum eigenfunctions.

 

Schlaefli Integral

Rodrigues’ formula provides a means of developing an integral representation of Pn (z). Using Cauchy’s integral formula. 

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev       (12.66)

with

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev       (12.67)

we have

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev        (12.68)

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

with the contour enclosing the point t = z

This is the Schlaefli integral. Margenau and Murphy 14 use this to derive the recurrence relations we obtained from the generating function.
The Schlaefli integral may readily be shown to satisfy Legendre’s equation by differentiation and direct substitution (Fig. 12.11). We obtain

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

Legendre Special Function (Part - 3) - Mathematical Methods of Physics, UGC - NET Physics Physics Notes | EduRev

nothing new. A contour about t =+1 and t =−1 will lead to a second solution, Qν (z) .

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