# Solving differential equation

I want to solve the following differential equation

DSolve[y''[x] == (λ y[x])/Sqrt[-1 + x], y[x],x]


But do not know how to actually solve it. Any suggestion?

• I suspect you need to do this numerically. Do you have some reason to expect an analytic solution? Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 19:39
• Are you have any answer to numerical solution? Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 19:43
• Basically the same, use NDSolve and you need to specify lambda and provide initial/boundary conditions. Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 20:04

Mathematica can also solve this differential equation if you help it with the choice of variable substitution:

Clear[y,λ,x,z,u,v]
eqn = y''[x] == λ y[x]/Sqrt[-1 + x]
(* ==> (y^\[Prime]\[Prime])[x] == (λ y[x])/Sqrt[-1 + x] *)

u[x_] := Sqrt[x - 1]
y[x_] := z[u[x]]
eqn2 = Simplify[eqn /. x -> InverseFunction[u][v], v > 0]
(*
==> 4 v^2 λ z[v] + Derivative[1][z][v] ==
v (z^\[Prime]\[Prime])[v]
*)

zSolution[v_] = z[v] /. First[DSolve[eqn2, z[v], v]]
(*
==> AiryAiPrime[2^(2/3) v λ^(1/3)] C[1] +
AiryBiPrime[2^(2/3) v λ^(1/3)] C[2]
*)

ySolution[x_] = zSolution[u[x]]
(*
==> AiryAiPrime[2^(2/3) Sqrt[-1 + x] λ^(1/3)] C[1] +
AiryBiPrime[2^(2/3) Sqrt[-1 + x] λ^(1/3)] C[2]
*)

Block[{y}, Simplify[eqn /. y -> ySolution]]
(* ==> True *)


All I did here was to define a new function z through the substitution of variable $u = \sqrt{x-1}$. The original differential equation eqn is then transformed into the new one, eqn2, which can be solved analytically with DSolve. Finally, I also check that the general solution obeys the original equation when substituting back the original independent variable x.

Edit: an alternate substitution

To get Bessel functions as solutions, instead of derivatives of Airy functions, the only change to the above would be to choose as our new variable $u = (x-1)^{(3/4)}$. This is shown here by repeating the same steps as before with that single change:

Clear[y, λ, x, z, u, v]
eqn = y''[x] == λ y[x]/Sqrt[-1 + x];
u[x_] := (x - 1)^(3/4)
y[x_] := z[u[x]]
eqn2 = Simplify[eqn /. x -> InverseFunction[u][v], v > 0];
zSolution[v_] = z[v] /. First[DSolve[eqn2, z[v], v]];
ySolution[x_] = zSolution[u[x]];
Block[{y = ySolution}, FullSimplify[eqn]]
(* ==> True *)

TeXForm[ySolution[x]]


$$c_1 \sqrt{x-1} J_{\frac{2}{3}}\left(-\frac{4}{3 } i (x-1)^{3/4} \sqrt{\lambda }\right)+c_2 \sqrt{x-1} Y_{\frac{2}{3}}\left(-\frac{4}{3 } i (x-1)^{3/4} \sqrt{\lambda }\right)$$

This is an alternate general solution.

• Are there any answer for following equation? y''[x] == λ x y[x]/Sqrt[-1 + x] Commented May 1, 2015 at 14:39
• Yes, my first approach does yield a solution in the form of a DifferentialRoot, which means you have a solution but it can't be expressed in terms of special functions. So you then have a solution for ySolution that can only be evaluated when you give numerical values to the parameters. The integration constants in that DifferentialRoot can in principle also be eliminated by adding two boundary conditions to eqn2, e.g. like this: DSolve[eqn2&&z[1]==1&&z'[1]==1,z[v],v]. The result still needs a numerical value for $\lambda$, though.
– Jens
Commented May 1, 2015 at 16:11
• Dear Dr Jens, Many thanks. Commented May 1, 2015 at 20:53
• Dear Dr Jens, why after change this equation to eqn = y''[x] == [Lambda]*x^(3/4)* y[x]/Sqrt[1 - x] with 0<x<1, I can not solve it? mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/86302/… Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 10:25

A simpler direct solution is the following:

Ignoring the -1 for a moment, i.e. replacing Sqrt[x-1] by Sqrt[x], Mathematica solves the resulting ODE easily

sol = DSolve[z''[x] == \[Lambda] z[x]/Sqrt[x], z[x], x]

(*
Out[1]= {{z[x] -> (2/3)^(2/3) Sqrt[x] \[Lambda]^(1/3)
BesselI[-(2/3), 4/3 x^(3/4) Sqrt[\[Lambda]]] C[1] Gamma[1/3] + ((-2)^(
2/3) Sqrt[x] \[Lambda]^(1/3)
BesselI[2/3, 4/3 x^(3/4) Sqrt[\[Lambda]]] C[2] Gamma[5/3])/3^(2/3)}}
*)


Now we restore the -1 and get

y[x_] = z[x] /. sol[[1]] /. x -> x - 1

(*
Out[2]= (2/3)^(2/3) Sqrt[-1 + x] \[Lambda]^(1/3)
BesselI[-(2/3), 4/3 (-1 + x)^(3/4) Sqrt[\[Lambda]]] C[1] Gamma[1/
3] + ((-2)^(2/3) Sqrt[-1 + x] \[Lambda]^(1/3)
BesselI[2/3, 4/3 (-1 + x)^(3/4) Sqrt[\[Lambda]]] C[2] Gamma[5/3])/3^(2/3)
*)


Finally we check that y[x] really solves the original ODE

y''[x]/(\[Lambda] y[x]) // FullSimplify

(*
Out[3]= 1/Sqrt[-1 + x]
*)


Check ok. Done.

This is a Bessel type ODE. So it has solutions in terms of special Bessel functions. This can be done by hand using Frobenius series method if needed. You might want to do this to verify the solution below.

Here is the solution from Maple and I converted it to Mathematica syntax. The solution contains 2 arbitrary constants of integrations and use BesselI and BesselY both implemented in Mathematica. So direct translation was only needed

Translate to Mathematica:

Clear[x, c1, c2, lam]
sol1 = Sqrt[x - 1] BesselJ[2/3, 4/3 Sqrt[-lam] (x - 1)^(3/4)];
sol2 = Sqrt[x - 1] BesselY[2/3, 4/3 Sqrt[-lam] (x - 1)^(3/4)];
fullSolution = c1 sol1 + c2 sol2


• Are there any solution for following differential equation with Maple? y''[x] =x λ y[x]/Sqrt[-1 + x]; Commented May 2, 2015 at 7:28

for reference here is the direct numerical approach. Obviously you need to specify lambda and initial conditions and a domain.

 \[Lambda] = 1;
x0 = 1 + 1*^-4;
x1 = 4;
ySolution[x_] = y[x] /. First@NDSolve[y''[x] == (\[Lambda] y[x])/
Sqrt[-1 + x] && y[x0] == 0 && y'[x0] == 1 , y[x],
{x, x0, x1}]
Plot[ySolution[x], {x, x0, x1}]


I just guessed x==1 is an important point. The equation has a singularity but the solution is well behaved at x==1 , which we can see by setting an initial condition at some small epsilon.

aside, here is how you match those initial conditions using Dr WH analytic solution:

 \[Lambda] = 1
sol = DSolve[z''[x] == \[Lambda] z[x]/Sqrt[x], z[x], x];
y[x_] = z[x] /. sol[[1]] /. x -> x - 1

Limit[y[x], x -> 1] -> C[1]  (* so C[1] must be zero *)


some handwaving later we find:

 C[2] -> real * (1+I Sqrt[3] )


produces a real solution that we can differentiate to match the y'[1] condition.. sol we have:

 yprime1=1
ySolution[x_] =
y[x] /. {C[1] -> 0 ,
C[2] -> - yprime1 Gamma[2/3]/Gamma[5/3]/2/(2/3)^(1/3) (1 + I Sqrt[3])}

Plot[ySolution[x], {x, 1, 4}]


(* same plot *)

• My differential equation is: ode = ([Lambda]*(x)*y[x])/Sqrt[1 - x] + Derivative[2][y][x] == 0 ic = {y[1] == 0, y'[1] == 1} DSolve[{ode, ic}, y[x], x] and my disatnce is on [0,1] Commented May 2, 2015 at 7:58
• and I need y(x). Commented May 2, 2015 at 9:06