Derivatives of Exponential Functions

These lessons look at the exponential derivatives.

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Related Pages
Exponential Functions
Derivative Rules
Natural Logarithm
Calculus Lessons

The function f(x) = 2x is called an exponential function because the variable x is the variable. Do not confuse it with the function g(x) = x2, in which the variable is the base.

The following diagram shows the derivatives of exponential functions. Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions on how to use the derivatives of exponential functions.

Derivatives Exponential Functions

In general, an exponential function is of the form

f(x) = ax where a is a positive constant.

Derivative of the Natural Exponential Function

The exponential function f(x) = ex has the property that it is its own derivative. This means that the slope of a tangent line to the curve y = ex at any point is equal to the y-coordinate of the point.

We can combine the above formula with the chain rule to get

Differentiate the function y = e sin x


Differentiate the function y = e–3xsin4x

Using the Product Rule and the above formulas, we get

Derivative of ax

Derivative of ag(x)

Differentiate y = x3 + 3x


Differentiate y = 52x+1


Derivatives of Exponential Functions
The derivative of an exponential function can be derived using the definition of the derivative. Derivatives of exponential functions involve the natural logarithm function, which itself is an important limit in Calculus, as well as the initial exponential function. The derivative is the natural logarithm of the base times the original function.

Derivatives of Exponential Functions with Base e

Exponential Functions and Derivatives
This video gives the formula to find derivatives of exponential functions and does a few examples of finding derivatives of exponential functions.

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