Fourier Series and it’s applications

The starting point of Fourier Series is the development of representation of signals as linear combination (sum of) of a set of basic signals.

f(t)\approx C_{1}x_{1}(t)+C_{2}x_{2}(t)+.......+C_{n}x_{n}(t)+....

The alternative representation if  a set of complex exponentials are used,

f(t)\approx C_{1}e^{j\omega _{o}t}+C_{2}e^{2j\omega _{o}t}+.......+C_{n}e^{jn\omega _{o}t}+....

The resulting representations are known as Fourier Series in Continuous-Time [Fourier Transform in the case of Non-Periodic signal]. Here we focus on representation of Continuous-Time and Discrete-Time periodic signals in terms of basic signals as Fourier Series and extend the analysis to the Fourier Transform representation of broad classes of aperiodic, finite energy signals.

These Fourier Series & Fourier Transform representations are most powerful tools used

  1. In the analyzation of signals and LTI systems.
  2. Designing of Signals & Systems.
  3. Gives insight to S&S.

The development of Fourier series analysis has a long history involving a great many individuals and the investigation of many different physical phenomena.

The concept of using “Trigonometric Sums”, that is sum of harmonically related sines and cosines (or) periodic complex exponentials are used to predict astronomical events.

Similarly, if we consider the vertical deflection f(t,x) of the string at time t and at a distance x along the string then for any fixed instant of time, the normal modes are harmonically related sinusoidal functions of x.

The scientist Fourier’s work, which motivated him physically was the phenomenon of heat propagation and diffusion. So he found that the temperature distribution through a body can be represented by using harmonically related sinusoidal signals.

In addition to this he said that any periodic signal could be represented by such a series.

Fourier obtained a representation for aperiodic (or) non-periodic signals not as weighted sum of harmonically related sinusoidals but as weighted integrals of Sinusoids that are not harmonically related, which is known as Fourier Integral (or) Fourier Transform.

In mathematics, we use the analysis of Fourier Series and Integrals in 

  1. The theory of Integration.
  2. Point-set topology.
  3. and in the eigen function expansions.

In addition to the original studies of vibration and heat diffusion, there are numerous other problems in science and Engineering in which sinusoidal signals arise naturally, and therefore Fourier Series and Fourier T/F’s plays an important role.

for example, Sine signals arise naturally in describing the motion of the planets and the periodic behavior of the earth’s climate.

A.C current sources generate sinusoidal signals as voltages and currents. As we will see the tools of Fourier analysis enable us to analyze the response of an LTI system such as a circuit to such Sine inputs.

Waves in the ocean consists of the linear combination of sine waves with different spatial periods (or) wave lengths.

Signals transmitted by radio and T.V stations are sinusoidal in nature as well.

The problems of mathematical physics focus on phenomena in Continuous Time, the tools of Fourier analysis for DT signals and systems have their own distinct historical roots and equally rich set of applications.

In particular, DT concepts and methods are fundamental to the discipline of numerical analysis , formulas for the processing of discrete sets of data points to produce numerical approximations for interpolation and differentiation were being investigated.

FFT known as Fast Fourier Transform algorithm was developed, which suited perfectly for efficient digital implementation and it reduced the time required to compute transform by orders of magnitude (which utilizes the DTFS and DTFT practically).

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Author: Lakshmi Prasanna

Completed M.Tech in Digital Electronics and Communication Systems and currently working as a faculty.