Definition:Contour/Simple/Complex Plane

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Let $C_1, \ldots, C_n$ be directed smooth curves in the complex plane $\C$.

Let $C_i$ be parameterized by the smooth path $\gamma_i: \left[{a_i \,.\,.\, b_i}\right] \to \C$ for all $i \in \left\{ {1, \ldots, n}\right\}$.

Let $C$ be the contour defined by the finite sequence $C_1, \ldots, C_n$.

$C$ is a simple contour if and only if:

$(1): \quad$ For all $i,j \in \left\{ {1, \ldots, n}\right\}, t_1 \in \left[{a_i \,.\,.\, b_i}\right), t_2 \in \left[{a_j \,.\,.\, b_j}\right)$ with $t_1 \ne t_2$, we have $\gamma_i \left({t_1}\right) \ne \gamma_j \left({t_2}\right)$.
$(2): \quad$ For all $k \in \left\{ {1, \ldots, n}\right\}, t \in \left[{a_k \,.\,.\, b_k}\right)$ where either $k \ne 1$ or $t \ne a_1$, we have $\gamma_k \left({t}\right) \ne \gamma_n \left({b_n}\right)$.

Thus a simple contour is a contour that does not intersect itself.

Also see


Note that a simple contour may be a closed contour, so $\gamma_1 \left({a_1}\right) = \gamma_n \left({b_n}\right)$.