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The Z Transform: Definition

Module by: Benjamin Fite. E-mail the author

Summary: A breif definition of the z-transform, explaining its relationship with the Fourier transform and its region of convergence, ROC.

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Basic Definition of the Z-Transform

The z-transform of a sequence is defined as

Xz= n = x nzn Xz n x n z n
Sometimes this equation is referred to as the bilateral z-transform. At times the z-transform is defined as
Xz= n =0xnzn X z n 0 x n z n
which is known as the unilateral z-transform.

There is a close relationship between the z-transform and the Fourier transform of a discrete time signal, which is defined as

Xeiω= n =xne(iωn) X ω n x n ω n
Notice that that when the zn z n is replaced with e(iωn) ω n the z-transform reduces to the Fourier Transform. When the Fourier Transform exists, z=eiω z ω , which is to have the magnitude of zz equal to unity.

The Complex Plane

In order to get further insight into the relationship between the Fourier Transform and the Z-Transform it is useful to look at the complex plane or z-plane. Take a look at the complex plane:

Figure 1
Z-Plane (zplane1.jpg)

The Z-plane is a complex plane with an imaginary and real axis referring to the complex-valued variable zz. The position on the complex plane is given by reiω r ω , and the angle from the positive, real axis around the plane is denoted by ωω. XzXz is defined everywhere on this plane. Xeiω Xω on the other hand is defined only where |z|=1 z1 , which is refered to as the unit circle. So for example, ω=1ω1 at z=1z1 and ω=πω at z=-1z-1. This is usefull because, by representing the Fourier transform as the z-transform on the unit circle, the periodicity of Fourier transform is easily seen.

Region of Convergence

The region of convergence, known as the ROC, is important to understand because it defines the region where the z-transform exists. The ROC for a given xn x n , is defined as the range of z z for which the z-transform converges. Since the z-transform is a power series, it converges when x nzn x n z n is absolutely summable. Stated differently,

n =| x nzn|< n x n z n
must be satisfied for convergence. This is best illustrated by looking at the different ROC's of the z-transforms of αnun α n u n and αnun1 α n u n 1 .

Example 1


x n=αn u n x n α n u n

Figure 2: x n=αn u n x n α n u n where α=.5α.5.
Figure 2 (sig1.png)

Xz= n = x nzn= n =αn u nzn= n =0αnzn= n =0αz1n Xz n x n z n n α n u n z n n 0 α n z n n 0 α z 1 n
This sequence is an example of a right-sided exponential sequence because it is nonzero for n0 n 0 . It only converges when |αz1|<1 α z 1 1 . When it converges,
Xz=11αz1=zzα Xz 1 1 α z 1 z z α
If |αz1|1 α z 1 1 , then the series, n =0αz1n n 0 α z 1 n does not converge. Thus the ROC is the range of values where
|αz1|<1 α z 1 1
or, equivalently,
|z|>|α| z α

Figure 3: ROC for x n=αn u n x n α n u n where α=0.5 α 0.5
Figure 3 (ROC1.jpg)

Example 2


x n=(αn) u (n)1 x n α n u n 1

Figure 4: x n=(αn) u (n)1 x n α n u n 1 where α=.5α.5.
Figure 4 (sig2_2.png)

Xz= n = x nzn= n =(αn) u -n1zn= n =-1αnzn= n =-1α-1zn= n =1α-1zn=1 n =0α-1zn Xz n x n z n n α n u -n 1 z n n -1 α n z n n -1 α -1 z n n 1 α -1 z n 1 n 0 α -1 z n
The ROC in this case is the range of values where
|α-1z|<1 α -1 z 1
or, equivalently,
|z|<|α| z α
If the ROC is satisfied, then
Xz=111α-1z=zzα Xz 1 1 1 α -1 z z z α

Figure 5: ROC for x n=(αn) u (n)1 x n α n u n 1
Figure 5 (ROC2.jpg)

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