Tag Archives: Sinusoid

Demystifying the Fourier Transform

The Fourier Transform is often used in Communication and Signal Processing to find the spectral content of a time-domain signal. The most common example is that of a sinusoid in the time domain, resulting in a sharply peaked signal in the frequency domain, also known as a delta function. A rectangular pulse in the time domain has a more complicated frequency domain equivalent, a sinc function. A rectangular pulse may be thought of as a combination of many sinusoids, hence its frequency domain equivalent is not that straightforward.

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Fourier Transform in Python

Fast Fourier Transform or FFT is a powerful tool to visualize a signal in the frequency domain. Shown below is the FFT of a signal (press the play button) composed of four sinusoids at frequencies of 50Hz, 100Hz, 200Hz and 400Hz. The sampling frequency is set at 1000Hz, more than twice the maximum frequency of the composite signal. The amplitude of the sinusoids diminishes with increasing frequency and this is also reflected in the frequency domain. Play with the code, decrease the frequencies, increase the power, visualize the FFT output on logarithmic scale!