 TOPICS  # Orthogonal Polynomials

Orthogonal polynomials are classes of polynomials defined over a range that obey an orthogonality relation (1)

where is a weighting function and is the Kronecker delta. If , then the polynomials are not only orthogonal, but orthonormal.

Orthogonal polynomials have very useful properties in the solution of mathematical and physical problems. Just as Fourier series provide a convenient method of expanding a periodic function in a series of linearly independent terms, orthogonal polynomials provide a natural way to solve, expand, and interpret solutions to many types of important differential equations. Orthogonal polynomials are especially easy to generate using Gram-Schmidt orthonormalization.

A table of common orthogonal polynomials is given below, where is the weighting function and (2)

(Abramowitz and Stegun 1972, pp. 774-775).

 polynomial interval  Chebyshev polynomial of the first kind   Chebyshev polynomial of the second kind   Gegenbauer polynomial   Hermite polynomial   Jacobi polynomial   Laguerre polynomial  1 generalized Laguerre polynomial   Legendre polynomial 1 In the above table, (3)

where is a gamma function.

The roots of orthogonal polynomials possess many rather surprising and useful properties. For instance, let be the roots of the with and . Then each interval for , 1, ..., contains exactly one root of . Between two roots of there is at least one root of for .

Let be an arbitrary real constant, then the polynomial (4)

has distinct real roots. If ( ), these roots lie in the interior of , with the exception of the greatest (least) root which lies in only for (5)

The following decomposition into partial fractions holds (6)

where are the roots of and   (7)   (8)

Another interesting property is obtained by letting be the orthonormal set of polynomials associated with the distribution on . Then the convergents of the continued fraction (9)

are given by   (10)   (11)   (12)

where , 1, ... and (13)

Furthermore, the roots of the orthogonal polynomials associated with the distribution on the interval are real and distinct and are located in the interior of the interval .

Appell Polynomial, Charlier Polynomial, Chebyshev Polynomial of the First Kind, Chebyshev Polynomial of the Second Kind, Christoffel-Darboux Identity, Complete Biorthogonal System, Complete Orthogonal System, Ferrers' Function, Gegenbauer Polynomial, Gram-Schmidt Orthonormalization, Hahn Polynomial, Hermite Polynomial, Jack Polynomial, Jacobi Polynomial, Krawtchouk Polynomial, Laguerre Polynomial, Legendre Polynomial, Meixner-Pollaczek Polynomial, Multivariate Orthogonal Polynomials, Orthogonal Functions, Pollaczek Polynomial, Spherical Harmonic, Stieltjes-Wigert Polynomial, Zernike Polynomial

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## References

Abramowitz, M. and Stegun, I. A. (Eds.). "Orthogonal Polynomials." Ch. 22 in Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables, 9th printing. New York: Dover, pp. 771-802, 1972.Arfken, G. "Orthogonal Polynomials." Mathematical Methods for Physicists, 3rd ed. Orlando, FL: Academic Press, pp. 520-521, 1985.Chihara, T. S. An Introduction to Orthogonal Polynomials. New York: Gordon and Breach, 1978.Gautschi, W.; Golub, G. H.; and Opfer, G. (Eds.) Applications and Computation of Orthogonal Polynomials, Conference at the Mathematical Research Institute Oberwolfach, Germany, March 22-28, 1998. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser, 1999.Iyanaga, S. and Kawada, Y. (Eds.). "Systems of Orthogonal Functions." Appendix A, Table 20 in Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mathematics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p. 1477, 1980.Koekoek, R. and Swarttouw, R. F. The Askey-Scheme of Hypergeometric Orthogonal Polynomials and its -Analogue. Delft, Netherlands: Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculty of Technical Mathematics and Informatics Report 98-17, 1-168, 1998.Nikiforov, A. F.; Uvarov, V. B.; and Suslov, S. S. Classical Orthogonal Polynomials of a Discrete Variable. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1992.Sansone, G. Orthogonal Functions. New York: Dover, 1991.Szegö, G. Orthogonal Polynomials, 4th ed. Providence, RI: Amer. Math. Soc., pp. 44-47 and 54-55, 1975.

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## Cite this as:

Weisstein, Eric W. "Orthogonal Polynomials." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource. https://mathworld.wolfram.com/OrthogonalPolynomials.html