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A geometric interpretation of the first-order Marcum Q-function, Q(a,b), is introduced as the probability that a complex, Gaussian random variable with real mean a, takes on values outside of a disk CO,b of radius b centered at the origin O. This interpretation engenders a fruitful approach for deriving new representations and tight, upper and lower bounds on Q(a,b). The new representations obtained involve finite-range integrals with pure exponential integrands. They are shown to be simpler and more robust than their counterparts in the literature. The new bounds obtained include the generic exponential bounds which involve an arbitrarily large number of exponential functions, and the simple erfc bounds which involve just a few erfc functions, together with exponential functions in some cases. The new generic exponential bounds approach the exact value of Q(a,b) as the number of exponential terms involved increases. These generic exponential bounds evaluated with only two terms and the new simple erfc bounds are much tighter than the existing exponential bounds in most cases, especially when the arguments a and b are large. Thus, in many applications requiring further analytical manipulations of Q(a,b), these new bounds can lead to some closed-form results which are better than the results available so far.
Date of Publication: July 2008