The Sokhotski–Plemelj theorem (Polish spelling is Sochocki) is a theorem in complex analysis, which helps in evaluating certain integrals. The real-line version of it (see below) is often used in physics, although rarely referred to by name. The theorem is named after Julian Sochocki, who proved it in 1868, and Josip Plemelj, who rediscovered it as a main ingredient of his solution of the Riemann–Hilbert problem in 1908.
Statement of the theorem
Let C be a smooth closed simple curve in the plane, and an analytic function on C. Then the Cauchy-type integral
defines two analytic functions of z, inside C and outside. The Sokhotski–Plemelj formulas relate the limiting boundary values of these two analytic functions at a point z on C and the Cauchy principal value of the integral:
Subsequent generalizations relaxed the smoothness requirements on curve C and the function φ.
In fact, both formulas are definitions, rather than theorems.
Version for the real line
Especially important is the version for integrals over the real line.
Let f be a complex-valued function which is defined and continuous on the real line, and let a and b be real constants with a < 0 < b. Then
where denotes the Cauchy principal value. (Note that this version makes no use of analyticity.)
Proof of the real version
A simple proof is as follows.
For the second term, we note that the factor x2⁄(x2 + ε2) approaches 1 for |x| ≫ ε, approaches 0 for |x| ≪ ε, and is exactly symmetric about 0. Therefore, in the limit, it turns the integral into a Cauchy principal value integral.
For simple proof of the complex version of the formula and version for polydomains see: Mohammed, Alip (February 2007). "The torus related Riemann problem". Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications. 326 (1): 533–555. doi:10.1016/j.jmaa.2006.03.011.
where E is some energy and t is time. This expression, as written, is undefined (since the time integral does not converge), so it is typically modified by adding a negative real coefficient to t in the exponential, and then taking that to zero, i.e.:
where the latter step uses the real version of the theorem.
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