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Bessel Functions

The Bessel Equation.

J. McKelliget, 2002

The following differential equations are identical, and are known as Bessel's equation

x

2

d

2

y

dx

2

+

x

dy

dx

+

(

d

dx

Ê dy

Á Ë

dx

x

ˆ ˜ ¯ +

(

x

2

x

2

-

-

n

n

2

)

2

)

y

x

y

=

=

0

0

In this equation n is a constant, not necessarily an integer. In the applications we will consider in this course n will always be a positive integer.

This equation is solved using series solutions. The general solution of this equation has the form

y

(

x

)

= AJ

n

(

x

)

+ BY

n

(

x

)

where J n is a Bessel function of the first kind of order n, and Y n is a Bessel function of the second kind of order n.

Plots of some Bessel functions are given below:

1 1 0.5 J0( x) 0 10 20 30 40 50 0.402556 0.5 0 x
1
1
0.5
J0( x)
0
10
20
30
40
50
0.402556
0.5
0
x
50

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J. McKelliget, 2002

1 0.520784 0.5 10 20 30 40 50 Y0( x ) 0.5 1 1.5 1.534239
1
0.520784
0.5
10
20
30
40
50
Y0( x ) 0.5
1
1.5
1.534239
2
0.1
x
50
0.6 0.581517 0.4 0.2 J1( x) 0 10 20 30 40 50 0.2 0.345961 0.4
0.6
0.581517
0.4
0.2
J1( x)
0
10
20
30
40
50
0.2
0.345961
0.4
0
x
50

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J. McKelliget, 2002

2 0.416674 10 20 30 40 50 2 Y1( x ) 4 6 6.458951 8
2
0.416674
10
20
30
40
50
2
Y1( x )
4
6
6.458951
8
0.1
x
50

The Modified Bessel Equation:

The following differential equations are identical and are known as the modified Bessel equation

x

2

d

2

dx

Ê

Á Ë

d

dx

2

x

y

+

x

dy

dx

-

dy

dx

ˆ ˜ ¯ -

(

x

(

2

x

2

+

+

n

n

2

)

2

)

y

x

y

=

= 0

0

This is the same as the Bessel equation except that the last term has the opposite sign. The general solution of this equation has the form

y

(

x

)

= AI

n

(

)

x + BK

n

(

x

)

where I n is a modified Bessel function of the first kind of order n and K n is a modified Bessel function of the second kind of order n.

Some plots of Modified Bessel functions are given below

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J. McKelliget, 2002

12 11.301922 10 8 I0( x ) 6 4 2 1 0 1 2 3
12
11.301922
10
8
I0( x )
6
4
2
1
0
1
2
3
4
0
x
4
2.5 2.427069 2 1.5 K0( x ) 1 0.5 0.01116 1 2 3 4 0.1
2.5
2.427069
2
1.5
K0( x )
1
0.5
0.01116
1
2
3
4
0.1
x
4

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J. McKelliget, 2002

10 9.759465 8 6 I1( x ) 4 2 0 0 1 2 3 4
10
9.759465
8
6
I1( x )
4
2
0
0
1
2
3
4
0
x
4
10 9.853845 8 6 K1( x ) 4 2 0.012483 1 2 3 4 0.1
10
9.853845
8
6
K1( x )
4
2
0.012483
1
2
3
4
0.1
x
4

The Bessel functions and Modified Bessel functions are obtained from series solutions of the appropriate Bessel equation, and are complicated polynomials in x . Explicit formulas for, and relations between, the Bessel functions are readily available in the following reference:

Handbook of Mathematical Functions, M. Abramovitch, I.E. Stegun, National Bureau of Standards, Applied Mathematics Series - 55, CRC Press.

This publication is also available online at

http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/faculty/wfw/ABRAMOWITZ-STEGUN/index.htm

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J. McKelliget, 2002

Both the MATHCAD and MATLAB programs contain standard routines to evaluate Bessel functions. During this course we will introduce relevant properties of Bessel functions as needed.

Bessel functions of the first and second kind behave a little like sine and cosine functions, but typically arise in problems expressed in cylindrical geometries. Modified Bessel functions of the first and second kind behave like sinh and cosh functions, and, again, are typically encountered in problems expressed in cylindrical geometries.

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