Fourier Analysis


This chapter on Fourier analysis covers three broad areas: Fourier series in Secs. 11.111.4, more general orthonormal series called Sturm–Liouville expansions in Secs. 11.5 and 11.6 and Fourier integrals and transforms in Secs. 11.711.9.

The central starting point of Fourier analysis is Fourier series. They are infinite series designed to represent general periodic functions in terms of simple ones, namely, cosines and sines. This trigonometric system is orthogonal, allowing the computation of the coefficients of the Fourier series by use of the well-known Euler formulas, as shown in Sec. 11.1. Fourier series are very important to the engineer and physicist because they allow the solution of ODEs in connection with forced oscillations (Sec. 11.3) and the approximation of periodic functions (Sec. 11.4). Moreover, applications of Fourier analysis to PDEs are given in Chap. 12. Fourier series are, in a certain sense, more universal than the familiar Taylor series in calculus because many discontinuous periodic functions that come up in applications can be developed in Fourier series but do not have Taylor series expansions.

The underlying idea of the Fourier series can be extended in two important ways. We can replace the trigonometric system by other families of orthogonal functions, e.g., Bessel functions and obtain the Sturm–Liouville expansions. Note ...

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