## 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)

*whole number of periods in samples*(depicted in Fig.6.2 for ).

^{6.1}

The complex sinusoids corresponding to the frequencies are

*roots of unity*in the complex plane.

### Nth Roots of Unity

As introduced in §3.12, the complex numbers

*th roots of unity*because each of them satisfies

*primitive th root of unity*.

^{6.2}

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 .

### DFT Sinusoids

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 .

**Next Section:**

Orthogonality of the DFT Sinusoids

**Previous Section:**

Geometric Series