Fourier Transforms for Continuous/Discrete Time/Frequency
The Fourier transform can be defined for signals which are
- discrete or continuous in time, and
- finite or infinite in duration.
- discrete or continuous in frequency, and
- finite or infinite in bandwidth.
This book has been concerned almost exclusively with the discrete-time, discrete-frequency case (the DFT), and in that case, both the time and frequency axes are finite in length. In the following sections, we briefly summarize the other three cases. Table B.1 summarizes all four Fourier-transform cases corresponding to discrete or continuous time and/or frequency.
Discrete Time Fourier Transform (DTFT)
The Discrete Time Fourier Transform (DTFT) can be viewed as the limiting form of the DFT when its length is allowed to approach infinity:
The inverse DTFT is
Instead of operating on sampled signals of length (like the DFT), the DTFT operates on sampled signals defined over all integers . As a result, the DTFT frequencies form a continuum. That is, the DTFT is a function of continuous frequency , while the DFT is a function of discrete frequency , . The DFT frequencies , , are given by the angles of points uniformly distributed along the unit circle in the complex plane (see Fig.6.1). Thus, as , a continuous frequency axis must result in the limit along the unit circle in the plane. The axis is still finite in length, however, because the time domain remains sampled.
Fourier Transform (FT) and Inverse
The Fourier transform of a signal , , is defined as
and its inverse is given by
Existence of the Fourier Transform
Conditions for the existence of the Fourier transform are complicated to state in general , but it is sufficient for to be absolutely integrable, i.e.,
There is never a question of existence, of course, for Fourier transforms of real-world signals encountered in practice. However, idealized signals, such as sinusoids that go on forever in time, do pose normalization difficulties. In practical engineering analysis, these difficulties are resolved using Dirac's ``generalized functions'' such as the impulse (also called the delta function) .
The Continuous-Time Impulse
An impulse in continuous time must have ``zero width'' and unit area under it. One definition is
An impulse can be similarly defined as the limit of any integrable pulse shape which maintains unit area and approaches zero width at time 0. As a result, the impulse under every definition has the so-called sifting property under integration,
provided is continuous at . This is often taken as the defining property of an impulse, allowing it to be defined in terms of non-vanishing function limits such as
An impulse is not a function in the usual sense, so it is called instead a distribution or generalized function [12,38]. (It is still commonly called a ``delta function'', however, despite the misnomer.)
Fourier Series (FS) and Relation to DFT
In continuous time, a periodic signal , with period seconds,B.2 may be expanded into a Fourier series with coefficients given by
where is the th harmonic frequency (rad/sec). The generally complex value is called the th Fourier series coefficient. The normalization by is optional, but often included to make the Fourier series coefficients independent of the fundamental frequency , and thereby depend only on the shape of one period of the time waveform.
Relation of the DFT to Fourier Series
We now show that the DFT of a sampled signal (of length ), is proportional to the Fourier series coefficients of the continuous periodic signal obtained by repeating and interpolating . More precisely, the DFT of the samples comprising one period equals times the Fourier series coefficients. To avoid aliasing upon sampling, the continuous-time signal must be bandlimited to less than half the sampling rate (see Appendix D); this implies that at most complex harmonic components can be nonzero in the original continuous-time signal.
If is bandlimited to , it can be sampled at intervals of seconds without aliasing (see §D.2). One way to sample a signal inside an integral expression such as Eq.(B.5) is to multiply it by a continuous-time impulse train
where is the continuous-time impulse signal defined in Eq.(B.3).
We wish to find the continuous-time Fourier series of the sampled periodic signal . Thus, we replace in Eq.(B.5) by
If the sampling interval is chosen so that it divides the signal period , then the number of samples under the integral is an integer , and we obtain
where . Thus, for all at which the bandlimited periodic signal has a nonzero harmonic. When is odd, can be nonzero for , while for even, the maximum nonzero harmonic-number range is .
Selected Continuous-Time Fourier Theorems
Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) Algorithms