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A Breif Introduction to the Fractional Fourier Transform

A Breif Introduction to the Fractional Fourier Transform

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The Fractional Fourier transform is a conceptually straitforward generalization of the Fourier transform. Given that you can compose the Fourier transform with itself as many times as you want, it is natural to ask the question, which transformation, when composed with itself yields the Fourier transform? Thus we have the Fractional Fourier Transform. This paper derives the specific equation for the fractional transform (in a hopefully straight forward and intelligable way), and investigates the concept of differentiating the fractional transform with respect to the fraction of the Fourier transform we are taking. This paper was the result of my final project for a Signals and Systems class I took at Olin College of Engineering.
The Fractional Fourier transform is a conceptually straitforward generalization of the Fourier transform. Given that you can compose the Fourier transform with itself as many times as you want, it is natural to ask the question, which transformation, when composed with itself yields the Fourier transform? Thus we have the Fractional Fourier Transform. This paper derives the specific equation for the fractional transform (in a hopefully straight forward and intelligable way), and investigates the concept of differentiating the fractional transform with respect to the fraction of the Fourier transform we are taking. This paper was the result of my final project for a Signals and Systems class I took at Olin College of Engineering.

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08/30/2013

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Sigsys Final Project Progress Report
Ian HooverMay 5, 2013
My progress has been solely in the increase of my understanding of the fractional Fouriertransform. I will go through what I know.
1 Intro
We showed in class that the Fourier transform preserves the
L
2
norm of functions it actson. This means we can think of the Fourier transform as a map from
L
2
[
−∞
,
] to itself.Indeed, we even talked about the Fourier transform as a basis change (albeit, the baseswere of distributions, so perhaps our space is more accurately that of distributions on
L
2
,which is a superset of functions in
L
2
, but whatever). Now, the upshot of this is that wecan compose the Fourier transform with itself. Thus we can deﬁne
n
{
(
t
)
}
=
n
(
u
) by
n
{
(
t
)
}
(
F ◦ F ◦ ··· ◦
)
  
n
{
(
t
)
}
=
n
(
u
)The idea of the fractional Fourier transform is to generalize this notion to non-integer
n
.When we do this, we want, of course, the additive property to hold. That is, we demandthat
α
◦ F
β
=
α
+
β
If we wanted to calculate the fractional power of a matrix, we would diagonalize it, andthen raise the eigenvalues to said fractional power. The same can be done with the Fouriertransform. Let us suppose we have a countable eigenbasis of
L
2
given by Ψ
n
(
t
) withassociated eigenvalue
λ
n
. Computing the fractional Fourier transform (henceforth referredto as the FRFT) of one of these basis vectors is trivial. We have that
α
{
Ψ
n
}
=
λ
αn
Ψ
n
We can essentially think of this as our deﬁnition of the FRFT, since deﬁning a lineartransformation on the basis of a space deﬁnes the transformation on the whole space (with1

this deﬁnition, it is easy to see that our additive property holds). Now, to calculate theFRFT of an arbitrary function
(
t
), we must ﬁrst express it in terms of the eigenbasis,
=
1
A
n
Ψ
n
and then apply use linearity to apply the FRFT to each term:
α
{
}
(
u
) =
n
=1
A
n
λ
αn
Ψ
n
(
u
)Now, as is we know, in the discrete case of the Fourier transform, the matrix is diagonal,and thus its eigenvectors are orthogonal. The same is true in the continuous case.
1
Thus,we can compute the basis transformation very simply.
A
n
=

−∞
(
t
n
(
t
)
dt
Now we have
α
{
}
(
u
) =
n
=1
A
n
λ
αn
Ψ
n
(
u
) (1)=
n
=1

−∞
(
t
n
(
t
)
dt
λ
αn
Ψ
n
(
u
) (2)=
n
=1

−∞
(
t
)
λ
αn
Ψ
n
(
t
n
(
u
)
dt
(3)=

t
=
−∞
(
t
)
n
=1
λ
αn
Ψ
n
(
t
n
(
u
)
dt
(4)Then, if we deﬁne
B
α
(
t,u
) =
n
=1
λ
αn
Ψ
n
(
t
n
(
u
), we have expressed the FRFT as anintegral transformation:
α
{
(
t
)
}
(
u
) =

−∞
(
t
)
B
α
(
t,u
)
dt
Thus, ﬁnding an elementary expression for the FRFT comes down to ﬁnding these functions
B
α
(
t,u
). This can be done since the eigenfunctions Ψ
n
(
t
) are well known. However, thecomputation is not terribly fun. There is a nice way I have found to intuit almost all of what
B
(
t,u
) needs to be though. And for this we need to do a lot of hand-waving, butit is fun hand-waving. Hopefully I will have this on more rigorous footing for the ﬁnaldeliverable.
1
The proof of this is really cool, and I will include it at some point in the ﬁnal thing. Just a bit shorton time at the moment
2

2 Waving hands in a great blur
Let us think of the time-frequency plane. We can sort of think of
δ
(
t
t
0
) as a verticalline in this space. At time
t
=
t
0
, the thing goes crazy and you have every mode equallyrepresented. Everywhere else it is zero. On the other hand, the function
e
iωt
is of constantfrequency component at all times and is thus represented by a horizontal line. Thus, wecan sort of think of the Fourier transform as a rotation through
π/
2 radians of the time-frequency plane. Now then, the FRFT is just a rotation through arbitrary angle
α
. Ireally should have ﬁgures for what comes next, and I will, but bear with me. If we rotatea vertical line of distance
u
from the origin by angle
α
(for the sake of the mental picture,say 0
< α < π/
2). Now, we have a line of decreasing slope. Speciﬁcally, the slope of theline is tan(
α
π/
2) =
cot(
α
). Now through basic trig, we ﬁnd that the
y
-intercept, as itwere, is at
u
csc(
α
). Thus, we kind of have a function, which at time
t
= 0 has frequency
u
csc(
α
), but the frequency decreases by
cot(
α
)
t
. Thus we have
e
ω
(
t
)
t
where we knowthat
ω
(0) =
u
csc(
α
) and that that
dt
=
cot(
α
)
t
. Thus,
ω
(
t
) =
u
csc(
α
)
t
cot(
α
)
t
2
/
2.Well, this is great, we kind of know what happens to a delta function under the FRFT. Itseems like it gets taken to the chirp
e
i
(
u
csc(
α
)
t
cot(
α
)
t
2
/
2
)Which should mean that this isour desired
B
α
(
t,u
). However, we know from our deﬁnition of
B
α
(
t,u
) that it is symmetricin
t
and
u
. Our current chirp function isn’t. To make it so, without messing with ourconditions on
w
(
t
), we simply multiply by
e
i
cot(
α
)
u
2
/
2
and get
e
i
(
u
csc(
α
)
t
cot(
α
)(
t
2
+
u
2
)
/
2
). Itturns out, this is basically what
B
α
(
t,u
) is. However, we want the FRFT to be a unitarytransformation, and for this to be so, we should calculate the normalization factor. Thatis, we want to know
in(
α
{
(
t
)
}|F
α
{
(
t
)
}
) =
(
|
)where (
·|·
) is the inner product. After a lot of integral manipulation, we arrive at

−∞
(
t
)

−∞
(
τ
)

−∞
e
i
(
ut
csc(
α
)
cot
(
α
)(
t
2
+
u
2
)
/
2
e
i
(
uτ
csc(
α
)
cot
(
α
)(
τ
2
+
u
2
)
/
2
dudτdt
The most inside works out to be 2
π
sin(
α
)
δ
(
t
τ
). Thus our normalization factor is

12
π
sin(
α
)Which is almost true, except that because of the way inner product is deﬁned, what withmultiplying a number by its complex conjugate and all, what we really have is that
¯
=12
π
sin(
α
)3