Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Integrals of Exponential Functions

Integrals of Exponential Functions

Finding the derivative of an exponential function is pretty straightforward since its derivative is the exponential function itself, so we might be tempted to assume that finding the integrals of exponential functions is not a big deal.

This is not the case at all. Differentiation is a straightforward operation, while integration is not. Even if we want to integrate an exponential function, we must pay special attention to the integrand and use an appropriate integration technique.

Integrals of Exponential Functions

We begin by recalling how to differentiate an exponential function.

The derivative of the natural exponential function is the natural exponential function itself.

$$\dfrac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d}x}e^x=e^x$$

If the base is other than \(e\), then we need to multiply by the natural logarithm of the base.

$$\dfrac{\mathrm{d}}{\mathrm{d}x}a^x=\ln{a}\, a^x$$

Of course, we also have to use any differentiation rules as needed! Let's take a look at a quick example using The Chain Rule.

Find the derivative of .

Let and differentiate using The Chain Rule.

Differentiate the exponential function.

Use The Power Rule to differentiate .

Substitute back and.

Rearrange the expression.

We will now take a look at how to integrate exponential functions. The derivative of the exponential function is the exponential function itself, so we can also think of this as if the exponential function is its own antiderivative.

The antiderivative of the exponential function is the exponential function itself.

If the base is other than \(e\) you divide by the natural logarithm of the base.

$$\int a^x\mathrm{d}x=\dfrac{1}{\ln{a}}a^x+C$$

Do not forget to add +C when finding the antiderivative of functions!

Let's see a quick example of the integral of an exponential function.

Evaluate the integral .

Since the argument of the exponential function is 3x, we need to do Integration by Substitution.

Let . Find du using The Power Rule.

Isolate dx.

Substitute and in the integral.

Rearrange the integral.

Integrate the exponential function.

Substitute back in the integral.

Be sure to use any of the Integration Techniques as needed!

We can avoid using Integration by Substitution if the argument of the exponential function is a multiple of x.

If the argument of the exponential function is a multiple of x, then its antiderivative is the following:

Where is any real number constant other than 0.

The above formula will make our lives easier when integrating exponential functions!

Definite Integrals of Exponential Functions

How about the evaluation of definite integrals that involve exponential functions? No problem! We can use The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus to do so!

Evaluate the definite integral .

Find the antiderivative of .

Use The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus to evaluate the definite integral.

Use the properties of exponents and simplify.

Up to this point, we have an exact result. You can always use a calculator if you need to know the integral's numerical value.

Use a calculator to find the numerical value of the definite integral.

We can also evaluate improper integrals knowing the following limits of the exponential function.

The limit of the exponential function as x tends to negative infinity is equal to 0. This can be expressed in two ways with the following formulas.

These limits will allow us to evaluate improper integrals involving exponential functions. This is better understood with an example. Let's do it!

Evaluate the definite integral .

Begin by finding the antiderivative of the given function.

Let . Find du using The Power Rule.

Isolate .

Substitute andin the integral.

Rearrange the integral.

Integrate the exponential function.

Substitute back .

In order to evaluate the improper integral, we use The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, but we evaluate the upper limit as it goes to infinity. That is, we let \(b\rightarrow\infty\) in the upper integration limit.

Simplify using the Properties of Limits.

As \(b\) goes to infinity, the argument of the exponential function goes to negative infinity, so we can use the following limit:

We also note that . Knowing this, we can find the value of our integral.

Evaluate the limit as and substitute .

Simplify.

Integrals of Exponential Functions Examples

Integrating is kind of a special operation in calculus. We need to have insight on which integration technique is to be used. How do we get better at integrating? With practice, of course! Let's see more examples of integrals of exponential functions!

Evaluate the integral .

Note that this integral involves and in the integrand. Since these two expressions are related by a derivative, we will do Integration by Substitution.

Let . Find using The Power Rule.

Rearrange the integral.

Substitute and in the integral.

Integrate the exponential function.

Substitute back .

Sometimes we will need to use Integration by Parts several times! Need a refresher on the topic? Take a look at our Integration by Parts article!

Evaluate the integral

Use LIATE to make an appropriate choice of u and dv.

Use The Power Rule to find du.

Integrate the exponential function to find v.

Use the Integration by Parts formula

The resulting integral on the right-hand side of the equation can also be done by Integration by Parts. We shall focus on evaluating to avoid any confusion.

Use LIATE to make an appropriate choice of u and dv.

Use The Power Rule to find du.

Integrate the exponential function to find v.

Use the Integration by Parts formula.

Integrate the exponential function.

Substitute back the above integral into the original integral and add the integration constant C.

Simplify by factoring out .

Let's see one more example involving a definite integral.

Evaluate the integral .

Begin by finding the antiderivative of the function. Then we can evaluate the definite integral using The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

Integrate the exponential function.

Use The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus to evaluate the definite integral.

Simplify.

Use the properties of exponents to further simplify the expression.

Common Mistakes When Integrating Exponential Functions

We might get tired at a certain point after practicing for a while. This is where mistakes start to show up! Let's take a look at some common mistakes that we might make when integrating exponential functions.

We have seen a shortcut for integrating exponential functions when their argument is a multiple of x.

This saves us plenty of time for sure! However, one common mistake is multiplying by the constant rather than dividing.

This might happen to you if you just differentiated an exponential function, maybe you were doing Integration by Parts.

The following mistake concerns every antiderivative.

Another common mistake when integrating (not only exponential functions!) is forgetting to add the integration constant. That is, forgetting to add +C at the end of the antiderivative.

Always make sure to add +C at the end of an antiderivative!

Summary

Integrals of Exponential Functions - Key takeaways

  • The antiderivative of the exponential function is the exponential function itself. That is:
    • If the argument of the exponential function is a multiple of x then: where is any real number constant other than 0.
  • Two useful limits for evaluating improper integrals involving exponential functions are the following:
  • You can involve different Integration Techniques when finding the integrals of exponential functions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Integrals of Exponential Functions

The integral of the exponential function is an exponential function with the same base. If the exponential function has a base other than e then you need to divide by the natural logarithm of that base.

You can use methods like Integration by Substitution along with the fact that the antiderivative of an exponential function is another exponential function.

Since the half-life exponential decay function is an exponential function, its integral is another function of the same type.

More about Integrals of Exponential Functions
60%

of the users don't pass the Integrals of Exponential Functions quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.