Symmetry Conditions in Fourier Series GATE Study Material in PDF

In the previous GATE study material learnt the basics and properties of Fourier Series. In
these free GATE Notes, we will learn about the Symmetry Conditions in Fourier Series‼
These study material covers everything that is necessary for GATE EC, GATE EE, GATE ME,
GATE CE as well as other exams like ISRO, IES, BARC, BSNL, DRDO etc. These notes can
also be downloaded in PDF so that your exam preparation is made easy and you ace your
exam.
You should probably go through the basics covered in previous articles, before starting
off with this module.

Recommended Reading –
Laplace Transforms
Limits, Continuity & Differentiability
Mean Value Theorems
Differentiation
Partial Differentiation
Maxima and Minima
Methods of Integration & Standard Integrals
Vector Calculus
Vector Integration
Time Signals & Signal Transformation
Standard Time Signals
Signal Classification
Types of Time Systems
Introduction to Linear Time Invariant Systems
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Properties of LTI Systems
Introduction to Fourier Series
Properties of Fourier Series

Applying of symmetry conditions reduces the complexity in finding Fourier series or
Fourier series coefficients. If we have the knowledge about the symmetric condition of
the given signal, then we can directly calculate some coefficients.
Types of Symmetries in Continuous Time Signals:
1. Even Symmetry
2. Odd Symmetry
3. Half wave symmetry / Rotational symmetry
We can now see how it is applicable to Trigonometric and Exponential Fourier Series.

Symmetry Conditions in Trigonometric Fourier Series
Even Symmetry
If x(t) is an even periodic signal, then
a0 =

1
2
∫ x(t)dt = ∫ x(t)dt
T
T
T⁄
2

T

an =

4
2
∫ x(t) cos(nω0 t)dt ?? an = ∫ x(t) cos(nω0 t)dt
T
T
T⁄
2

T

& bn = 0
This is because cos(nω0t) is an even signal while sin(mω0t) is odd signal. We know thatEven × Odd = Odd
and ∫T(odd signal)dt = 0
Therefore, for every even signal bn = 0.
Hence, Fourier Series of an even signal contains DC term and cosine terms only.
Odd Symmetry
If x(t) is an odd function then
1
1
a0 = ∫ x(t)dt = ∫(odd signal) dt = 0
T
T
T

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T

an =

2
∫ x(t) cos(nω0 t)dt = 0
T

(∵ ∫ odd = 0)

T

bn =

T

2
∫ x(t). sin(nω0 t)dt
T
T

We know that, odd × odd = even
Hence, bn =

4
∫ x(t) sin(nω0 t)dt
T
T⁄
2

as ∫T even = 2 ∫T⁄ even
2

Therefore, for every odd signal a0 = 0 and an = 0. Hence, Fourier series contains only
sine terms.
Half-Wave Symmetry
Now, a signal x(t) is half wave symmetric if
T
x(t) = – x (t ± )
2
Where T is the fundamental period of the signal.
Half wave symmetry is defined only for periodic signals.
For instance,

A half symmetric periodic signal waveform

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Previous signal after half of time period

Example 1:
x(t) = A sin(ωot). Check the symmetry of this signal.

Waveform with half wave symmetry

Solution:

Half symmetric waveform after half time period

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T=ω

0

π

x(t ± T⁄2) = A sin (ω0 (t ± ω ))
0

= A sin(ω0 t ± π)
= −A sin ω0 t

So this signal is half wave symmetric.
If x(t) is half wave symmetric then its Fourier series contains odd harmonics only.
Odd harmonics are – ω0, 3ω0, 5ω0, ……

Example 2:
Find TFS for the following signal

Solution:
A ; − T⁄4 < t < T⁄4
x(t) = {
−A ; − T⁄2 < t < − T⁄4 and T⁄4 < t < T⁄2
x(t) = a0 + ∑∞
n=1(a n cos(nω0 t) + bn sin(nω0 t))

Since, x(t) is even symmetric. Therefore, bn = 0
Since, x(t) is symmetric about horizontal axis. Therefore, average of x(t) is zero.
Hence, DC term a0 = 0
Therefore,
x(t) = ∑∞
n=1 a n cos(nω0 t)
2

4

an = T ∫T x(t)cos(nω0 t)dt = T ∫T⁄ x(t)cos(nω0 t)dt
=

T⁄
4
4A
{

T 0

(−

cos(nω0 t)dt +

sin(nω0 t)
nω0 t

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|

T⁄
4

T⁄
2

)}

2
T⁄
∫T⁄ 2 −A
4

cos nω0 t dt} =

4A
T

{+

sin(nω0 t)
nω0 t

|
0

T⁄
4

+

4A

an = nω T {sin (nω0 t|0

T⁄
4

0

− sin(nω0 t)|T⁄

4

T⁄
2 )}

4A

= nω T {sin (
0

nω0 T
4

) − sin(nω0 T⁄2) +

sin(nω0 T⁄4)}

Since, T = ω

0

⇒ ω0 T = 2π
4A

2πn

2A

4
πn

an = 2πn {sin (

2πn

) − sin (

2

2πn

) + sin (

4

)}

an = nπ [2 sin ( 2 ) − sin(πn)]
sin(πn) = 0
2A

πn

an = πn .2 sin ( 2 )
4A

πn

an = πn sin ( 2 )
x(t) = ∑∞
n=1 a n cos(nω0 t)
4A

⇒ x(t) = ∑∞
n=1 nπ sin ( 2 ) cos(nω0 t)
x(t) =
x(t) =

4A
π
4A
π

π

4A

4A

sin ( 2 ) cos(ω0 t) + 2π sin(π) cos(2ω0 t) + 3π sin ( 2 ) cos(3ω0 t)
1

1

{cos ω0 t − 3 cos 3ω0 t + 5 cos 5ω0 t −}………

Hidden Symmetry
There is also a phenomenon called hidden symmetry. The symmetry which is hidden by
the DC component is known as hidden symmetry. This symmetry can be obtained by
removing the offset (adding or subtracting the DC).
If x(t) has some hidden symmetry, then its Fourier series contains DC and sine or DC
and cosine terms depending upon the symmetry. i.e. for hidden odd symmetry the
Fourier Series will contain DC and sine terms. For hidden even symmetry the series will
be having DC and cosine terms.
For instance,

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Hidden DC signal in a periodic square pulse

Original periodic square pulse

Symmetry Conditions in Exponential Fourier Series
Even Symmetry
If x(t) is an even function, then bn = 0 then
c0 = a0 , cn =

an
an
and c−n =
2
2

i.e. cn = c-n
⇒ cn are real
If x(t) is even signal, then EFS coefficients are real and even.
An even periodic signal contains only DC (co ≠ 0) and cosine terms, so phase angle will
be either zero degrees or ±180∘
Odd Symmetry
If x(t) is an odd signal, then a0 = 0 and an = 0
⇒ c0 = 0

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cn =

−jbn
jbn
, c−n =
2
2
i.e. cn = -c-n

⇒ cn are imaginary
If x(t) is odd, then its EFS coefficients are imaginary and odd.
In terms of frequency spectrum co is always zero and phase angle is only ±π/2.
Half-Wave Symmetry
In terms of Fourier spectrum, for half wave symmetric signal, cn = 0 ∀ n even. In other
word, the spectrum of a half wave symmetric signal contains only odd harmonics. Half
wave symmetry is defined only for periodic signals.
Even and Half Wave Symmetry
For even and half wave symmetric signals,
T
x(t) = x (t ± ).
2
For an even and half wave symmetric signal, the spectrum satisfies the following
conditions:
cn = 0 ∀ n even
and ∠cn = 0∘ or 180∘
Odd and Half Wave Symmetry
For odd and half wave symmetric signals,
T
x(t) = − x (t ± ).
2
For an odd and half wave symmetric signal, the spectrum satisfies the following
conditions:
cn = 0 ∀ n even,
and ∠cn = ±90∘ .

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We will continue with the Fourier Transforms in the next article. Did you like this article
on Symmetry Conditions in Fourier Series? Let us know in the comments. You may also
enjoy –
Fourier Transform
Properties of Fourier Transform

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