Dr. Ahmed G. Abo-Khalil

Electrical Engineering Department

Frequency domain

In electronics, control systems engineering, and statistics, frequency domain is a term used to describe the domain for analysis of mathematical functions or signals with respect to frequency, rather than time.

Speaking non-technically, a time-domain graph shows how a signal changes over time, whereas a frequency-domain graph shows how much of the signal lies within each given frequency band over a range of frequencies. A frequency-domain representation can also include information on the phase shift that must be applied to each sinusoid in order to be able to recombine the frequency components to recover the original time signal.

A given function or signal can be converted between the time and frequency domains with a pair of mathematical operators called a transform. An example is the Fourier transform, which decomposes a function into the sum of a (potentially infinite) number of sine wave frequency components. The 'spectrum' of frequency components is the frequency domain representation of the signal. The inverse Fourier transform converts the frequency domain function back to a time function.

A spectrum analyzer is the tool commonly used to visualize real-world signals in the frequency domain.

(Note that recent advances in the field of signal processing have also allowed to define representations or transforms that result in a joint time-frequency domain, with the instantaneous frequency being a key link between the time domain and the frequency domain.)

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