14 Legendre and Related FunctionsApplications14.30 Spherical and Spheroidal Harmonics14.32 Methods of Computation

Applications of toroidal functions include expansion of vacuum magnetic fields in stellarators and tokamaks (van Milligen and López Fraguas (1994)), analytic solutions of Poisson’s equation in channel-like geometries (Hoyles et al. (1998)), and Dirichlet problems with toroidal symmetry (Gil et al. (2000)).

The conical functions ${\mathsf{P}}_{-\frac{1}{2}+\mathrm{i}\tau}^{m}\left(x\right)$ appear in boundary-value problems for the Laplace equation in toroidal coordinates (§14.19(i)) for regions bounded by cones, by two intersecting spheres, or by one or two confocal hyperboloids of revolution (Kölbig (1981)). These functions are also used in the Mehler–Fock integral transform (§14.20(vi)) for problems in potential and heat theory, and in elementary particle physics (Sneddon (1972, Chapter 7) and Braaksma and Meulenbeld (1967)). The conical functions and Mehler–Fock transform generalize to Jacobi functions and the Jacobi transform; see Koornwinder (1984a) and references therein.

Many additional physical applications of Legendre polynomials and associated Legendre functions include solution of the Helmholtz equation, as well as the Laplace equation, in spherical coordinates (Temme (1996b)), quantum mechanics (Edmonds (1974)), and high-frequency scattering by a sphere (Nussenzveig (1965)). See also §18.39.

Legendre functions ${P}_{\nu}\left(x\right)$ of complex degree $\nu $ appear in the application of complex angular momentum techniques to atomic and molecular scattering (Connor and Mackay (1979)).