Orthogonality of Sinusoids
A key property of sinusoids is that they are orthogonal at different frequencies. That is,
For length sampled sinusoidal signal segments, such as used by the DFT, exact orthogonality holds only for the harmonics of the sampling-rate-divided-by-, i.e., only for the frequencies (in Hz)
The complex sinusoids corresponding to the frequencies are
Nth Roots of Unity
As introduced in §3.12, the complex numbers
The th roots of unity are plotted in the complex plane in Fig.6.1 for . It is easy to find them graphically by dividing the unit circle into equal parts using points, with one point anchored at , as indicated in Fig.6.1. When is even, there will be a point at (corresponding to a sinusoid with frequency at exactly half the sampling rate), while if is odd, there is no point at .
The sampled sinusoids generated by integer powers of the roots of unity are plotted in Fig.6.2. These are the sampled sinusoids used by the DFT. Note that taking successively higher integer powers of the point on the unit circle generates samples of the th DFT sinusoid, giving , . The th sinusoid generator is in turn the th th root of unity (th power of the primitive th root of unity ).
Note that in Fig.6.2 the range of is taken to be instead of . This is the most ``physical'' choice since it corresponds with our notion of ``negative frequencies.'' However, we may add any integer multiple of to without changing the sinusoid indexed by . In other words, refers to the same sinusoid for all integers .
Orthogonality of the DFT Sinusoids