Building Blocks of All Signals

Learn about how most practical signals are constructed from a finite or infinite number of sinusoids.

A complex sinusoid is represented by a single impulse in the frequency domain.

  • A real sinusoid is formed by the combination of two such complex sinusoids in time—hence, two impulses in frequency.
  • To form any other signal, more than two complex sinusoids in time must be combined together.

Similar to a house with bricks, these sinusoids form the basic unit of signal construction regardless of their shape. One tick on the frequency axis implies one complex sinusoid. When many of them combine together, they form a continuous curve in the frequency domain called the spectrum of that signal.

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