Dirac delta function



dirac(x) represents the Dirac delta function of x.


dirac(n,x) represents the nth derivative of the Dirac delta function at x.


Handle Expressions Involving Dirac and Heaviside Functions

Compute derivatives and integrals of expressions involving the Dirac delta and Heaviside functions.

Find the first and second derivatives of the Heaviside function. The result is the Dirac delta function and its first derivative.

syms x
diff(heaviside(x), x)
diff(heaviside(x), x, x)
ans =
ans =
dirac(1, x)

Find the indefinite integral of the Dirac delta function. The results returned by int do not include integration constants.

int(dirac(x), x)
ans =

Find the integral of this expression involving the Dirac delta function.

syms a
int(dirac(x - a)*sin(x), x, -Inf, Inf)
ans =

Use Assumptions on Variables

dirac takes into account assumptions on variables.

syms x real
assumeAlso(x ~= 0)
ans =

For further computations, clear the assumptions on x by recreating it using syms.

syms x

Evaluate Dirac delta Function for Symbolic Matrix

Compute the Dirac delta function of x and its first three derivatives.

Use a vector n = [0, 1, 2, 3] to specify the order of derivatives. The dirac function expands the scalar into a vector of the same size as n and computes the result.

n = [0, 1, 2, 3];
d = dirac(n, x)
d =
[ dirac(x), dirac(1, x), dirac(2, x), dirac(3, x)]

Substitute x with 0.

subs(d, x, 0)
ans =
[ Inf, -Inf, Inf, -Inf]

Plot Dirac Delta Function

To handle the infinity at 0, use numeric values instead of symbolic values. Continue plotting all other symbolic inputs symbolically by using fplot.

Set the Inf value to 1 and plot by using stem.

x = -1:0.1:1;
y = dirac(x);
idx = y == Inf; % find Inf
y(idx) = 1;     % set Inf to finite value

Input Arguments

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Input, specified as a number, symbolic number, variable, expression, or function, representing a real number. This input can also be a vector, matrix, or multidimensional array of numbers, symbolic numbers, variables, expressions, or functions.

Order of derivative, specified as a nonnegative number, or symbolic variable, expression, or function representing a nonnegative number. This input can also be a vector, matrix, or multidimensional array of nonnegative numbers, symbolic numbers, variables, expressions, or functions.

More About

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Dirac delta Function

The Dirac delta function, δ(x), has the value 0 for all x ≠ 0, and ∞ for x = 0.

For any smooth function f and a real number a,



  • For complex values x with nonzero imaginary parts, dirac returns NaN.

  • dirac returns floating-point results for numeric arguments that are not symbolic objects.

  • dirac acts element-wise on nonscalar inputs.

  • At least one input argument must be a scalar or both arguments must be vectors or matrices of the same size. If one input argument is a scalar and the other one is a vector or a matrix, then dirac expands the scalar into a vector or matrix of the same size as the other argument with all elements equal to that scalar.

Introduced before R2006a