Skip to content Skip to navigation


You are here: Home » Content » Fourier Transform and the Transfer Function


Recently Viewed

This feature requires Javascript to be enabled.

Fourier Transform and the Transfer Function

Module by: Don Johnson. E-mail the author

Summary: Correlates the unit response with the frequency and time domains.

Because we are interested in actual computations rather than analytic calculations, we must consider the details of the discrete Fourier transform. To compute the length- NN DFT, we assume that the signal has a duration less than or equal to NN. Because frequency responses have an explicit frequency-domain specification in terms of filter coefficients, we don't have a direct handle on which signal has a Fourier transform equaling a given frequency response. Finding this signal is quite easy. First of all, note that the discrete-time Fourier transform of a unit sample equals one for all frequencies. Because of the input and output of linear, shift-invariant systems are related to each other by Yei2πf=Hei2πfXei2πf Y 2 f H 2 f X 2 f , a unit-sample input results in the output's Fourier transform equaling the system's transfer function.

Exercise 1

This statement is a very important result. Derive it yourself.


The DTFT of the unit sample equals a constant (equaling 1). In this case, the Fourier transform of the output equals the transfer function.

In the time-domain, the output for a unit-sample input is known as the system's unit-sample response, and is denoted by hn h n . Combining the frequency-domain and time-domain interpretations of a linear, shift-invariant system's unit-sample response, we have that hn h n and the transfer function are Fourier transform pairs in terms of the discrete-time Fourier transform.

Discrete-time Fourier Transform

hnHei2πf h n H 2 f

Content actions

Download module as:

Add module to:

My Favorites (?)

'My Favorites' is a special kind of lens which you can use to bookmark modules and collections. 'My Favorites' can only be seen by you, and collections saved in 'My Favorites' can remember the last module you were on. You need an account to use 'My Favorites'.

| A lens I own (?)

Definition of a lens


A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks