# 2018 AIME I Problems/Problem 11

## Problem

Find the least positive integer $n$ such that when $3^n$ is written in base $143^2$, its two right-most digits in base $143$ are $01$.

## Solution 1

Note that the given condition is equivalent to $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{143^2}$ and $143=11\cdot 13$. Because $\gcd(11^2, 13^2) = 1$, the desired condition is equivalent to $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{121}$ and $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$.

If $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{121}$, one can see the sequence $1, 3, 9, 27, 81, 1, 3, 9...$ so $5|n$.

Now if $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$, it is harder. But we do observe that $3^3 \equiv 1 \pmod{13}$, therefore $3^3 = 13a + 1$ for some integer $a$. So our goal is to find the first number $p_1$ such that $(13a+1)^ {p_1} \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$. Then, $p_1 \equiv 0 \pmod{13},$ which follows from the binomial theorem. It is not difficult to see that the smallest $p_1=13$, so ultimately $3^{39} \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$. Therefore, $39|n$.

The first $n$ satisfying both criteria is thus $5\cdot 39=\boxed{195}$.

-expiLnCalc

## Solution 2

Note that Euler's Totient Theorem would not necessarily lead to the smallest $n$ and that in this case that $n$ is greater than $1000$.

We wish to find the least $n$ such that $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{143^2}$. This factors as $143^2=11^{2}*13^{2}$. Because $\gcd(121, 169) = 1$, we can simply find the least $n$ such that $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{121}$ and $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$.

Quick inspection yields $3^5 \equiv 1 \pmod{121}$ and $3^3 \equiv 1 \pmod{13}$. Now we must find the smallest $k$ such that $3^{3k} \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$. Euler's gives $3^{156} \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$. So $3k$ is a factor of $156$. This gives $k=1,2, 4, 13, 26, 52$. Some more inspection yields $k=13$ is the smallest valid $k$. So $3^5 \equiv 1 \pmod{121}$ and $3^{39} \equiv 1 \pmod{169}$. The least $n$ satisfying both is $lcm(5, 39)=\boxed{195}$. (RegularHexagon)

## Solution 3 (Big Bash)

Listing out the powers of $3$, modulo $169$ and modulo $121$, we have: $$\begin{array}{c|c|c} n & 3^n\mod{169} & 3^n\mod{121}\\ \hline 0 & 1 & 1\\ 1 & 3 & 3\\ 2 & 9 & 9\\ 3 & 27 & 27\\ 4 & 81 & 81\\ 5 & 74 & 1\\ 6 & 53\\ 7 & 159\\ 8 & 139\\ 9 & 79\\ 10 & 68\\ 11 & 35\\ 12 & 105\\ 13 & 146\\ 14 & 100\\ 15 & 131\\ 16 & 55\\ 17 & 165\\ 18 & 157\\ 19 & 133\\ 20 & 61\\ 21 & 14\\ 22 & 42\\ 23 & 126\\ 24 & 40\\ 25 & 120\\ 26 & 22\\ 27 & 66\\ 28 & 29\\ 29 & 87\\ 30 & 92\\ 31 & 107\\ 32 & 152\\ 33 & 118\\ 34 & 16\\ 35 & 48\\ 36 & 144\\ 37 & 94\\ 38 & 113\\ 39 & 1\\ \end{array}$$

The powers of $3$ repeat in cycles of $5$ and $39$ in modulo $121$ and modulo $169$, respectively. The answer is $\text{lcm}(5, 39) = \boxed{195}$.

~Minor edit by Yiyj1

## Solution 4 (Order+Bash)

We have that $$3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{143^2}.$$Now, $3^{110} \equiv 1 \pmod{11^2}$ so by the Fundamental Theorem of Orders, $\text{ord}_{11^2}(3)|110$ and with some bashing, we get that it is $5$. Similarly, we get that $\text{ord}_{13^2}(3)=39$. Now, $\text{lcm}(39,5)=\boxed{195}$ which is our desired solution.

## Solution 5 (Easy Binomial Theorem)

We wish to find the smallest $n$ such that $3^n\equiv 1\pmod{143^2}$, so we want $n\equiv 1\pmod{121}$ and $n\equiv 1\pmod{169}$. Note that $3^5\equiv 1\pmod{121}$, so $3^n$ repeats $121$ with a period of $5$, so $5|n$. Now, in order for $n\equiv 1\pmod{169}$, then $n\equiv 1\pmod{13}$. Because $3^3\equiv 1\pmod{13}$, $3^n$ repeats with a period of $3$, so $3|n$. Hence, we have that for some positive integer $p$, $3^n\equiv (3^3)^p\equiv (26+1)^p\equiv \binom{p}{0}26^p+\binom{p}{1}26^{p-1}....+\binom{p}{p-2}26^2+\binom{p}{p-1}26+\binom{p}{p}\equiv 26p+1\equiv 1\pmod{169}$, so $26p\equiv 0\pmod{169}$ and $p\equiv 0\pmod{13}$. Thus, we have that $5|n$, $3|n$, and $13|n$, so the smallest possible value of $n$ is $3\times5\times13=\boxed{195}$. -Stormersyle

## Solution 6 (LTE)

We can see that $3^n-1 = 143^2*x$, which means that $v_{11}(3^n-1) \geq 2$, $v_{13}(3^n-1) \geq 2$. $v_{11}(3^n-1) = v_{11}(242) + v_{11}(\frac{n}{5})$, $v_{13}(3^n-1) = v_{13}(26) + v_{13}(\frac{n}{3})$ by the Lifting the Exponent lemma. From the first equation we gather that 5 divides n, while from the second equation we gather that both 13 and 3 divide n as $v_{13}(3^n-1) \geq 2$. Therefore the minimum possible value of n is $3\times5\times13=\boxed{195}$.

## Solution 7

Note that the problem is basically asking for the least positive integer $n$ such that $11^2 \cdot 13^2 | 3^n - 1.$ It is easy to see that $n = \text{lcm } (a, b),$ where $a$ is the least positive integer satisfying $11^2 | 3^a - 1$ and $b$ the least positive integer satisfying $13^2 | 3^b - 1$. Luckily, finding $a$ is a relatively trivial task, as one can simply notice that $3^5 = 243 \equiv 1 \mod 121$. However, finding $b$ is slightly more nontrivial. The order of $3^k$ modulo $13$ (which is $3$) is trivial to find, as one can either bash out a pattern of remainders upon dividing powers of $3$ by $13$, or one can notice that $3^3 = 27 \equiv 1 \mod 13$ (the latter which is the definition of period/orders by FLT). We can thus rewrite $3^3$ as $(2 \cdot 13 + 1) \mod 13^2$. Now suppose that $$3^{3k} \equiv (13n + 1) \mod 13^2.$$ I claim that $3^{3(k+1)} \equiv (13(n+2) + 1) \mod 13^2.$

Proof: To find $3^{3(k+1)},$ we can simply multiply $3^{3k}$ by $3^3,$ which is congruent to $2 \cdot 13 + 1$ modulo $13^2$. By expanding the product out, we obtain $$3^{3(k+1)} \equiv (13n + 1)(2 \cdot 13 + 1) = 13^2 \cdot 2n + 13n + 2 \cdot 13 + 1 \mod 13^2,$$ and since the $13^2$ on the LHS cancels out, we're left with $$13n + 2 \cdot 13 + 1 \mod 13^2 \implies 13(n+2) + 1 \mod 13^2$$. Thus, our claim is proven. Let $f(n)$ be the second to last digit when $3^{3k}$ is written in base $13^2$. Using our proof, it is easy to see that $f(n)$ satisfies the recurrence $f(1) = 2$ and $f(n+1) = f(n) + 2$. Since this implies $f(n) = 2n,$ we just have to find the least positive integer $n$ such that $2n$ is a multiple of $13$, which is trivially obtained as $13$. The least integer $n$ such that $3^n - 1$ is divisible by $13^2$ is $3 \cdot 13 = 39,$ so our final answer is $\text{lcm } (5, 39) = \boxed{195}.$

-fidgetboss_4000 -minor edits made by srisainandan6

## Solution 8 (Official MAA)

The requested positive integer is the least value of $n>0$ such that $3^n\equiv 1\pmod{143^2}.$ Note that $143=11\cdot 13.$ The least power of $3$ that is congruent to $1$ modulo $11^2$ is $3^5=243=2\cdot 11^2+1.$ It follows that. $3^n\equiv 1\pmod {11^2}$ if and only if $n=5j$ for some positive integer $j$.

The least power of $3$ that is congruent to $1$ modulo $13$ is $3^3=27=2\cdot 13+1.$ It follows that $3^n\equiv 1\pmod{13}$ if and only if $n=3k$ for some positive integer $k$. Additionally, for some positive integer $k$, the Binomial Theorem shows that $3^{3k}=(26+1)^k=26\cdot k+1 \pmod{13^2}$. In particular, $3^n=3^{3k}\equiv 1\pmod {13^2}$ if and only if $k=13m$ for some positive integer $m$, that is, if and only if $n=39m.$

Because $11^2$ and $13^2$ are relatively prime, $3^n\equiv 1\pmod {143^2}$ if and only if $3^n\equiv 1\pmod{11^2}$ and $3^n \equiv 1\pmod {13^2}$. This occurs if and only if $n$ is a multiple of both of the relatively prime integers $5$ and $39$, so the least possible value of $n$ is $5\cdot 39=\boxed{195}.$

## Solution 9 (Motivation and LTE)

We first note that we wish to find $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{11^2}$ and $3^n \equiv 1 \pmod{13^2}.$ Not thinking of anything else, we try a few numbers for the first condition to get that $5 \mid n.$ For the second condition, upon testing up to 729, we find that it doesn't yield a solution readily, so we use Lifting the Exponent from our toolkit to get that $$v_{13}(27^m-1^m)=v_{13}(26)+v(m)=1+v(m), 3m = n$$ which clearly implies $m=13$ and $39 | n.$ Our answer is then obviously $39 \cdot 5 = \boxed{195}.$

~Dhillonr25