Expressions Involving Complex Variables

The Wolfram Language usually pays no attention to whether variables like x stand for real or complex numbers. Sometimes, however, you may want to make transformations which are appropriate only if particular variables are assumed to be either real or complex.

The function ComplexExpand expands out algebraic and trigonometric expressions, making definite assumptions about the variables that appear.

ComplexExpand[expr]expand expr assuming that all variables are real
ComplexExpand[expr,{x1,x2,}]expand expr assuming that the xi are complex

Expanding complex expressions.

This expands the expression, assuming that x and y are both real:
Click for copyable input
In this case, a is assumed to be real, but x is assumed to be complex, and is broken into explicit real and imaginary parts:
Click for copyable input
With several complex variables, you quickly get quite complicated results:
Click for copyable input

There are several ways to write a complex variable z in terms of real parameters. As above, for example, z can be written in the "Cartesian form" Re[z]+I Im[z]. But it can equally well be written in the "polar form" Abs[z] Exp[I Arg[z]].

The option TargetFunctions in ComplexExpand allows you to specify how complex variables should be written. TargetFunctions can be set to a list of functions from the set {Re,Im,Abs,Arg,Conjugate,Sign}. ComplexExpand will try to give results in terms of whichever of these functions you request. The default is typically to give results in terms of Re and Im.

This gives an expansion in Cartesian form:
Click for copyable input
Here is an expansion in polar form:
Click for copyable input
Here is another form of expansion:
Click for copyable input