I am trying to take product of a complex number with its conjugate. When I take

A*Conjugate[A] // FullSimplify

The output is as desired


But when I try


The output is

A B Conjugate[A] Conjugate[B]

Why mathematica is not showing the output as

Abs[A]^2 Abs[B]^2

I am using Mathematica 11.2.0.

  • $\begingroup$ ComplexExpand does the work: A*Conjugate[A]*B*Conjugate[B] // ComplexExpand. $\endgroup$
    – rmw
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ @rmw - You have let ComplexExpand assume that A and B are real-valued. The OP is working with complex variables. $\endgroup$
    – Bob Hanlon
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


You can use ComplexExpand

simplify = 
  Simplify[ComplexExpand[#, Variables[Level[#, {-1}]], 
     TargetFunctions -> {Abs, Arg}]] &;

A*Conjugate[A] // simplify

(* Abs[A]^2 *)


(* Abs[A]^2 Abs[B]^2 *)
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. This will save a lot of time in my calculations :-) $\endgroup$
    – Archimedes
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 15:00

It is somewhat counterintuitive, but Mathematica might indeed think that A B Conjugate[A] Conjugate[B] is simpler.

LeafCount[Abs[A]^2 Abs[B]^2]
LeafCount[A B Conjugate[A] Conjugate[B]]



Notice that LeafCount is not the precise ComplexityFunction used by FullSimplify, but it may still give you an idea.

In the end, simplification is always a matter of taste.


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