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# The Fourier Series

## BEE2113 Signals & Systems

R. M. Taufika R. Ismail
FKEE, UMP

Introduction
A Fourier series is an expansion of a
periodic function f (t) in terms of an infinite sum
of cosines and sines

n 1

## In other words, any periodic function can be

resolved as a summation of
constant value and cosine and sine functions:

n 1

## (a2 cos 2t b2 sin 2t )

(a3 cos 3t b3 sin 3t )
dc

ac

## The computation and study of Fourier

series is known as harmonic analysis and
is extremely useful as a way to break up
an arbitrary periodic function into a set of
simple terms that can be plugged in,
solved individually, and then recombined
to obtain the solution to the original
problem or an approximation to it to
whatever accuracy is desired or practical.

f(t)

a0

Periodic Function

=
t

b1 sin t

a1 cos t

+
b2 sin 2t

a2 cos 2t

## f (t ) a0 (an cos n0t bn sin n0t )

n 1

2
Fundemental frequency
where 0
T
1 t 0 T
a0
f (t ) dt
T t0
2 t 0 T
an
f (t ) cos n0t dt
T t0
2 t 0 T
bn
f (t ) sin n0t dt
t
T 0

Notice that

1 t 0 T
a0
f (t )dt
T t0
Area below graph over a period

T
Average value
dc component
[*The right sign of the area below graph must be
obeyed. +ve sign for area above x-axis & ve sign
for area below x-axis]

Symmetry Considerations

Symmetry functions:
(i) even symmetry
(ii) odd symmetry

Even symmetry

## Any function f (t) is even if its plot is

symmetrical about the vertical axis, i.e.
f (t ) f (t )

f (t ) | t |

f (t ) t 2

t
f (t ) cost

## The integral of an even function from A to

+A is twice the integral from 0 to +A
f even (t )
A

t
A

+A

even

0

Odd symmetry

## Any function f (t) is odd if its plot is

antisymmetrical about the vertical axis, i.e.
f (t ) f (t )

f (t ) t 3

f (t ) t

t
f (t ) sin t

+A is zero
f odd (t )

+A

odd

(t )dt 0

## Even and odd functions

The product properties of even and odd
functions are:
(even) (even) = (even)
(odd) (odd) = (even)
(even) (odd) = (odd)
(odd) (even) = (odd)

Symmetry consideration
From the properties of even and odd
functions, we can show that:

4
an
T

T /2

f (t ) cosntdt

bn 0

a0 an 0

4
bn
T

T /2

f (t ) sin ntdt
0

## How?? [Even function]

f (t )

2
T /2

2
4
an
f (t ) cos ntdt

T T / 2
T

T /2

T
2

T /2

2
f (t ) sin ntdt 0
f (t ) cos ntdt bn

T T / 2

(even) (even)

(even) (odd)

||

||

(even)

(odd)

## How?? [Odd function]

f (t )

T
2

T /2

2
a0
f (t )dt 0

T T / 2
(odd)
T /2

2
an
f (t ) cos ntdt 0

T T / 2
(odd) (even)
||

(odd)

T /2

2
4
bn
f (t ) sin ntdt

T T / 2
T
(odd) (odd)
||

(even)

T /2

f (t ) sin ntdt
0

n 1

## is known as the sine-cosine form

We can also express the Fourier series in
the cosine form only, that is

f (t ) a0 An cos(n0t n )
n 1

form

## From this form, we can plot the amplitude

spectrum, An vs. n and the phase
spectrum, n vs. n.
It can be shown that the combination of
cosine and sine function can be expressed
as a cosine function only:
a cos x b sin x A cos(x )
A(cos x cos sin x sin )
( A cos ) cos x ( A sin ) sin x

## Comparing both sides of eqn:

A cos a .....(1)
A sin b .....(2)

(1) 2 (2) 2 :

A cos A sin a b
2

A2 (cos2 sin 2 ) a 2 b 2
A a b A a b
2

( 2)
:
(1)

A sin b

A cos
a
b
1 b
tan
tan

a
a

Hence
an cos n0t bn sin n0t An cos(n0t n )

where
bn

phase,n tan
an
1

amplitude, An a b
2
n

2
n

A0 a0

Or in phasor/complex form:
bn

An n an jbn a b tan
an
2
n

2
n

Example 1
Determine the Fourier series of the following
waveform. Obtain the amplitude and phase
spectra.

Solution
First, determine the period & describe the one period
of the function:

T=2

1, 0 t 1
f (t )
0, 1 t 2

We find that 0
T

f (t 2) f (t )

## Then, obtain the coefficients a0, an and bn:

T

1
a0 f (t )dt
T 0
1
2

1
1
1
1
f (t )dt 1dt 0dt (1 0)
20
2 0
2
1
2
2

Or

## Area below graph 11 1

a0

T
2
2

2
an f (t ) cos n0tdt
T 0
sin n
sin nt
1cos ntdt 0dt

n
n 0
0
1
1

## Notice that n is integer which leads sin n 0,

since sin sin 2 sin 3 0
Therefore, an 0.

2
bn f (t ) sin n0tdt
T 0
cos nt 1 cos n
1sin ntdt 0dt

n 0
n

0
1
1

cos2 cos4 cos6 1

or

cos n (1) n

1 (1) n 2 / n

Therefore, bn
n
0

n odd

, n even

Finally,

## f (t ) a0 (an cos n0t bn sin n0t )

n 1

1 1 (1) n

sin nt
2 n 1 n
1 2

2 n 1 n

sin nt

n odd

1 2
2
2
sin t
sin 3t
sin 5t
2
3
5

In amplitude-phase form,

1 2
f (t )
sin nt
2 n 1 n
n odd

1 2

cos(nt 90)
2 n 1 n
n odd

1 2
2
cos(t 90)
cos(3t 90)
2
3
2

cos(5t 90)
5

Amplitude spectrum:

Phase spectrum:

sin x cos(x 90)
sin x cos(x 90)

sin( x) sin x
cos( x) cos x

For n integers,
sin n 0

cos n (1) n

sin 2n 0

cos2n 1

Notes:

## The sum of the Fourier series terms can

evolve (progress) into the original
waveform

1 2
2
2
f (t ) sin t
sin 3t
sin 5t
2
3
5

## It can be demonstrated that the sum will

lead to the square wave:

(a)

(b)
2

(c)

sin t

sin t

2
sin 3t
3

(d)

sin t

2
2
sin 3t
sin 5t
3
5

sin t

2
2
2
sin 3t
sin 5t
sin 7t
3
5
7

(e)

sin t

2
2
2
2
sin 3t
sin 5t
sin 7t
sin 9t
3
5
7
9

(f)

1 2
2
2
sin t
sin 3t
sin 23t
2
3
23

Example 2
Given f (t ) t ,

1 t 1

f (t 2) f (t )

## Sketch the graph of f (t) such that 3 t 3.

Then compute the Fourier series expansion of f (t).
Plot the amplitude and phase spectra until the forth
harmonic.

Solution
The function is described by the following graph:

T=2

We find that 0
T

## Then we compute the coefficients:

a0 an 0 since f(t) is an odd function.
1

4
4
bn f (t ) sin n0tdt t sin ntdt
T 0
20
cos nt
t cos nt
2
2
dt

n 0
n

0
1

2 cos n
sin nt

2 2 2
n
n 0
1

2 cos n 2 sin n
2(1) n
2(1) n 1

2 2
0
n
n
n
n

Hence,

## f (t ) a0 (an cos n0t bn sin n0t )

n 1

2(1) n 1

sin nt
n
n 1
2
1
2
1
sin t sin 2t
sin 3t
sin 4t

3
2
2
1
cos(t 90) cos(2t 90)

2
1

cos(3t 90)
cos(4t 90)
3
2

Amplitude spectrum:
0.64

0.32
0.21

0.16

Phase spectrum:

Example 3
2 t , 0 t 2
Given v(t )
0 , 2t 4
v(t 4) v(t )

0 t 12.

## (ii) Compute the trigonometric Fourier series of v (t).

(iii) Express the Fourier series of v (t) in the
amplitude-phase form. Then plot the amplitude
and phase spectra until the forth harmonic.

Solution
(i) The function is described by the following graph:
v (t)
2

T=4

We find that 0
T
2

10

12

## (ii) Then we compute the coefficients:

2
4

1
1
a0 v(t )dt (2 t )dt 0dt
T 0
4 0
2

1
1
t
1
(2 t )dt 2t
40
4
2 0 2
2

Or

2 2 1
a0

4
2
1
2

2
1
an v(t ) cos n0tdt (2 t ) cos n0tdt 0
T 0
20
2
2

dt

2
n0
0 2 0 n0
2

## 1 cos n0t 1 cos 2n0

0 2 2
2 n 0 0
2n 202
2(1 cos n ) 2[1 (1) n ] 0

2 2
2 2
2 2
4
/
n

n
n

, n even
,

n odd

2
1
bn v(t ) sin n0tdt (2 t ) sin n0tdt 0
T 0
20
2
2

1 (2 t ) cos n0t
1 cos n0t

dt

2
n0
0 2 0 n0
2

1 sin n0t

2 2
n 0 2 n 0 0
1

sin 2n0
1
2

2 2
n 0
2n 0
n0 n
1

Hence,

## v(t ) a0 (an cos n0t bn sin n0t )

n 1

1 2[1 (1) n ] nt 2
nt

cos
sin

2 2
2 n 1 n
2 n
2

a0 An cos(n0t n )
n 1

(iii) Where

An n an jbn
2

, n even
j n

2 2

j , n odd
n n

90
, n even

2
4
1 n
tan

1
, n odd
2
2

n n
2

We obtained that
A0 a0 0.5

A11 0.75 57 .5

A22 0.32 90

A33 0.22 78 .0

A44 0.16 90

v(t ) a0 An cos(n0t n )
n 1

## 0.5 0.75 cos 57.5 0.32 cost 90

2

3t

0.22 cos
78.0 0.16 cos2t 90
2

Amplitude spectrum:

Phase spectrum:

0.75
0.5

/2

0.32

3/2

0.22
0.16

57.5
90

/2

3/2 2

78.0

90

Example 4
Given

1 , 2 t 1

f (t ) t , 1 t 1
1 ,
1 t 2

f (t 4) f (t )

## Sketch the graph of f (t) such that 6 t 6.

Then compute the Fourier series expansion of f (t).

Solution
The function is described by the following graph:
f (t)

1
6

T=4

We find that
T
2

## Then we compute the coefficients. Since f (t) is

an odd function, then
2

2
a0 f (t )dt 0
T 2
and
2

2
an f (t ) cos ntdt 0
T 2

2
4
bn f (t ) sin ntdt f (t ) sin ntdt
T 2
T 0
1
2

4
t sin ntdt 1sin ntdt
4 0
1

cos nt
t cos nt
cos nt

dt

0 0

1
1

## cos n sin nt cos 2n cos n

2 2
n
n
n 0
cos 2n sin n
2 cos n 4 sin(n / 2)

2 2

2 2
n
n
n
n
since sin 2n sin n 0
1

Finally,

a0
f (t ) (an cos nt bn sin nt )
2 n 1
nt
2 cos n

sin
n
2
n 1

(1) n 1
nt
2
sin
n
2
n 1

Example 5
Compute the Fourier series expansion of f (t).

Solution
The function is described by
1 , 0 t 1

f (t ) 2 , 1 t 2
1 , 2 t 3

T=3

f (t 3) f (t )
T=3

and

2 2
0

T
3

## Then we compute the coefficients.

3
1
2
3
2
2
2
8
a0 f (t )dt 1dt 2dt 1dt (1 0) 2(2 1) (3 2)
T 0
3 0
3
1
2
3

## Or, since f (t) is an even function, then

3

2
4
a0 f (t )dt
T 0
T

3/ 2

1
3/ 2
4
4
3 8
f (t )dt 1dt 2dt (1 0) 2 1
3 0
2 3
1
3

Or, simply
3
2
2 Total area below graph 2
8
4
a0 f (t )dt
in a period
T0
T
3
3

2
4
an f (t ) cos ntdt
T 0
T

3/ 2

f (t ) cos ntdt
0

1
3/ 2

4
1 cos ntdt 2 cos ntdt
3 0
1

4 sin nt 4 2 sin nt

3 n 0 3 n 1
1

3/ 2

4
3n

sin n 2 sin
sin n

3n
2

4
3n

2
sin

sin
n

3n
2

2n

2 sin n sin
3

2
2n

sin

n
3

and bn 0

## since f (t) is an even function.

Finally,
a0
f (t ) (an cos nt bn sin nt )
2 n 1
4 2
2n
2nt

sin
cos
3 n 1 n
3
3
4 2 1
2n
2nt
sin
cos
3 n 1 n
3
3

Parsevals Theorem

## Parservals theorem states that the

average power in a periodic signal is equal
to the sum of the average power in its DC
component and the average powers in its
harmonics

f(t)

Pdc

Pavg
a0

=
Pa1

Pb1

b1 sin t

a1 cos t

+
Pa2

Pb2

+
a2 cos 2t

b2 sin 2t

2

Vpeak

2
2
V
Vrms
1 peak
2
P

R
R
2 R

which yields
P V

2
rms

1 2
Vpeak
2

## Therefore, the total power of all harmonics

is
Pavg Pdc Pa1 Pb1 Pa2 Pb2
1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2
a a1 b1 a2 b2
2
2
2
2

1
1
Pavg a02 (an2 bn2 ) a02 An2
2 n 1
2 n 1
2
0

## And since P Vrm2 s ,

1
1
Vrms a02 (an2 bn2 ) a02 An2
2 n1
2 n1

Circuit applications
Steps for applying Fourier series:
1. Express the excitation as a Fourier
series
2. Transform the circuit from the time
domain to the frequency domain
3. Find the response of the dc and ac
components in the Fourier series
4. Add the individual dc and ac responses
using the superposition principle

Example 6
The signal in Figure 6.1 is applied to the circuit in
Figure 6.2.
(i)
(ii)

(iii)
(iv)

## Find the Fourier series of is(t).

Plot the amplitude spectrum for the dc
component and the first three non-zero
harmonics of is(t).
Find the load current iL(t).
Find the average power dissipated in the
resistor RL.

is (t )

Figure 6.1
iL (t )

1H
is (t )

Figure 6.2

RL 1

Solution
(i)

## The current source is described by

is (t ) | t | , t
t , 0t

t , t 0
and

T 2

, 0 1

## Compute the Fourier series. Since is(t) is an even

function,

2
a0
T

T /2

2
1
0 is (t )dt 2 0 tdt

2 0 2
2

or

## 1 Area below graph 1 1

a0
over 0 t 2
2

4
an
T

T /2

i (t ) cos n tdt
s

4
2 t sin nt
2 sin nt

t cos ntdt

dt

2 0
n 0 0 n

2 sin n 2 cos nt

n
n 0
2(cosn 1)

n 2
2[(1) n 1] 4 / n 2

2
n
0

, n odd
, n even

bn 0
Therefore, the Fourier series of is(t) is

4
is (t ) 2
2 n 1 n

cos nt

n odd

4
2
2 n 1 n

cos(nt 180)

n odd

4
cos(t 180)
cos(3t 180)
2
9
4

cos(5t 180)
25

(ii)

Hence,

I s0

I sn

4
n
2

I s n

I sn
1.571

180 , n 1,3,5,

1.273

0.141
0.051

(iii)

## To compute iL(t), separate to dc and ac analysis:

dc analysis (n = 0)

## S/c the inductor, hence

I L0

I s0

I s0
2

/2
2

ac analysis (n 1)

R j L
IL
Is
RL ( R jL)
or

I Ln

R j n L

I sn
RL ( R j n L )

, n n 0 n

1 jn 4

2 180

2 jn n

4
n 2

1 n 2 1

1 n
tan n tan
180
2
4n
2

I L0 0.785,
I L1 0.805198.43, I L3 0.124195.26,
I L5 0.048190.49
Hence,

## iL (t ) 0.785 0.805 cos(t 198.43)

0.124 cos(3t 195.26) 0.048 cos(5t 190.49)

(iv)

## Average power absorbed by Rl is

PI

2
L ( rms )

RL

2 1 2
I L0 I Ln RL
2 n 1

1
2
0.785 (0.805 2 0.124 2 0.048 2 ) 0.949 W
2

Example 7
The signal in Figure 7.1 is applied to the circuit in
Figure 7.2.
(i)
Find the Fourier series of vs(t).
(ii) Find the output voltage vo(t).
(iii) Plot the amplitude spectrum for the dc
component and the first three non-zero harmonics
of the output voltage vo(t).
(iv) Find the r.m.s value of vo(t) .

vs (t )

Figure 7.1
1
vs (t )

vo (t )

1F

Figure 7.2

Solution
(i)

1 , 0 t 1
vs (t )
1 , 1 t 0
and

T 2 , 0

## Compute the Fourier series. Since vs(t) is an odd

function,

a0 an 0

4
bn
T

T /2

v (t ) sin n tdt
s

4
cos nt
sin ntdt 2

20
n

0
1

2(1 cos n )

n
2[1 (1) n ] 4 / n

n
0

n odd

, n even

4
vs (t )
n 1 n
n odd

sin nt

n 1 n

cos(nt 90)

n odd

4
cos(t 90)
cos(3t 90)

3
4

cos(5t 90)
5
Hence,

Vs0 0

4
Vsn
90 , n 1,3,5,
n

(ii)

## To compute vo(t), separate to dc and ac analysis:

dc analysis (n = 0)

## O/c the capacitor, hence

I 0

1
Vs0 0

Vo0 0

ac analysis (n 1)

R (1 / jC )
1 jRC
Vo
Vs
Vs
R [ R (1 / jC )]
1 j 2RC
or

1 jn RC
Von
Vsn
1 j 2n RC
1 jn

1 j 2n
4

, n n 0 n

90

1 n 2 2
1
1

tan
n

tan
2n 90
2 2
1 4n

Vo0 0,
Vo1 0.660 98.61,Vo3 0.213 93.02,
Vo5 0.128 91.82
Hence,

## vo (t ) 0.660 cos(t 98.61) 0.213cos(3t 93.02)

0.128 cos(5t 91.82)

(iii) Vo

0.660

Von

0.213

n
0.128

(iv)

Vo ( rms)

98.61

93.02

91.82

1
Vo20 Vo2n
2 n 1

2

## Recall that, from the Eulers identity,

e jx cos x j sin x

yields
e e
cos x
2
jx

jx

and

e jx e jx
sin x
j2

## Then the Fourier series representation becomes

a0
f (t ) (an cos nt bn sin nt )
2 n 1
a0 e jnt e jnt
an
2 n 1
2

e jnt e jnt
bn
j2

a0 e jnt e jnt
an
2 n 1
2

e jnt e jnt
jbn
2

e
e

2 n 1
2
2

e
e
2 n 1
2
2
n 1

an jbn
cn
2

## Here, let we name

a0
and c0 . Hence,

an jbn
cn
2

2
a0 an jbn jnt an jbn jnt
f (t )
e
e
2 n 1
2
2

n 1

c0

cn

cn

n 1

n 1

n 1

n 1

c0 cn e jnt c n e jnt
c0 cn e jnt cn e jnt

n 1

jnt
jnt
c
e

c
e
n
n
0

jnt
c
e
n

## Then, the coefficient cn can be derived from

an jbn
cn
2
T
T
12
j 2

f (t ) cos ntdt
f (t ) sin ntdt

2T 0
2T 0
T
T

1
f (t ) cos ntdt j f (t ) sin ntdt
T 0
0

0

f (t )e jnt dt

## In fact, in many cases, the complex

Fourier series is easier to obtain rather
than the trigonometrical Fourier series
In summary, the relationship between the
complex and trigonometrical Fourier series
are:

1
c0 a0 f (t )dt
T 0

1
cn f (t )e jnt dt
T 0

an jbn 1
cn
An n
2
2

an jbn
cn
2

an2 bn2 An
cn

2
2

or

c n cn

## The average power and the rms value in

the term of Fourier complex coefficient are
P1

Frms

2
n

c 2 cn
2
0

n 1

c 2 cn
2
0

n 1

Example 8
For the given function,
(i)
Obtain the complex Fourier series
(ii) Plot the amplitude and the phase spectra
of the complex Fourier series for 5 n 5
(iii) Calculate the average power and the rms value
of the signal
v (t )

e 2

1
4

Solution
(i)

Since T 2 , 0 1 . Hence
T

1
c0 v(t )dt
T 0
1

e dt
t

1 t

e
2

e 2 1

1
jn0t
cn v(t )e
dt
T 0
1

2
1

e e

t jnt

1
dt
2

(1 jn ) t

dt

1 jn 0
(1 jn ) t

e 2 (1 jn ) 1 e 2 e j 2 n 1
e 2 1

2 (1 jn)
2 (1 jn)
2 (1 jn)
since e j 2 n cos 2n j sin 2n 1 0 1

cn n0

e 1
e 1

c0
2 (1 jn) n0
2

v(t )

c e

jn0 t

e 1 jnt

e
n 2 (1 jn )

## *Notes: Even though c0 can be found by substituting

cn with n = 0, sometimes it doesnt works (as shown
in the next example). Therefore, it is always better to
calculate c0 alone.

(ii)

e 2 1

1 n
cn n
0 tan

2
1

2 1 n

85

tan 1 n
1 n2

(ii)

P1

2
n

## 852 2(60.12 382 26.9 2 20.6 2 16.7 2 )

20.19 kW
and since P1 Vrm2 s

## Vrms 20.19k 142.09 V

Example 9
Obtain the complex Fourier series of the function in
Example 1. Then plot the complex frequency spectra
for 4 n 4 and calculate the rms value of the signal.

Solution
0
T
1
1
1
1
c0 f (t )dt 1dt
T 0
20
2
T

1
1
jnt
cn f (t )e
dt 1e jnt dt 0
T 0
20
1
jnt

1e
j
jn

(e
1)

2 jn 0 2n

But

j
jn
Thus, cn
(e
1)
2n

j / n
j
n

[(1) 1]
2n
0

n odd

, n even

## *Here notice that cn n0 c0 .

Therefore, f (t )

c e

jn 0t

1
j jnt

e
2 n n
n0
n odd

For n even,
For n odd,

0.5

cn 0,n 0
90, n 0
1
cn
, n
n
90, n 0
1
c0
2

Frms

Summary

## Sine-cosine form f (t ) a0 (an cos n0t bn sin n0t )

n 1

T
T
2
2
1
2
0
, a0 f (t )dt , an f (t ) cos n0tdt , bn f (t ) sin n0tdt
T 0
T
T0
T0
T

Amplitude-phase form

f (t ) a0 An cos(n0t n )
n 1

An n an jbn

## Exponential (or complex) form

c0 a0 ,

an jbn
cn
,
2

c n c

*
n

f (t )

jn0t
c
e
n

Prob.17.37, pg.803
If the sawtooth waveform in Fig.17.9 is the
voltage source vs(t) in the circuit of
Fig.17.22, find the response vo(t).

Prob.17.37, pg.803
If the periodic current waveform in
Fig.17.73(a) is applied to the circuit in
Fig.17.73(b), find vo.
is (t )

3
0
1

(a)

(b)

Problem
v s (t )
Rs 1

C 1 F

v s (t )

Ro 1

vo (t )

(i)
(ii)

(ii)

## Compute the output voltage vo (t).

Plot the amplitude and phase spectra of vo (t)
for the first three nonzero harmonics.
Calculate the average power dissipated in
the resistor Ro.

QUIZ 1
Given the Fourier series expansion of the
voltage signal vs(t) is

10
vs (t ) 5
n 1 n
1H

sin nt

vs (t )

1H

vo (t )

## Find vo(t) in the amplitude-phase form.

Quiz1
Determine the Fourier series of the following
waveform.

v(t )

QUIZ 2
Find i(t) if v(t) is the signal as given in QUIZ 1.
1 2
v(t )
2 n 1 n
n odd

1 2

sin nt
2 n 1 n

n odd

cos(nt 90)

QUIZ 3
Find the output voltage vo(t) if the current
source is(t) is given by

2
is (t ) 1
cos(nt 90 )
n 1 n
3

is (t )

0. 5 F

vo (t )

QUIZ 4
Using time differentiation technique, find the
Fourier transform of f(t).