# Fourier Series of a step function

## Homework Statement

[/B]
$$f(x)=\left\{\begin{array}{cc}0,&\mbox{ if } 0< x < 2\\1, & \mbox{ if } 2<x<4\end{array}\right.$$
Show that the Cosine Fourier Series of f(x) for the range [0,4] is given by:

$$A + B\sum^{\infty}_{n=0}\frac{(-1)^n}{(2m+1)}cos(\frac{(2m +1) \pi x}{2})$$

## Homework Equations

$$a_n = \frac{2}{L}\int^{x_0 + L}_{x_0} f(x)cos(\frac{2\pi nx}{L})dx$$

## The Attempt at a Solution

L = 4
$$a_n = \frac{1}{2}\int^{4}_{0} f(x)cos(\frac{\pi nx}{2})dx =\frac{1}{2}\int^{2}_{0} 0cos(\frac{\pi nx}{2})dx+\frac{1}{2}\int^{4}_{2} cos(\frac{\pi nx}{2})dx = \frac{1}{2}\int^{4}_{2} cos(\frac{\pi nx}{2})dx$$

$$= \frac{1}{2}[\frac{2 sin(2n\pi)}{\pi n} - \frac{2 sin(n\pi)}{\pi n} = \frac{1}{2}[0 - 0] = 0$$

I do get a non-zero a0 term but it seems weird to me that B would be zero, is my L wrong?

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When dealing with Fourier cosine and sine series, you are actually extending a non-periodic function onto a periodic even or odd domain. Hence the effective period is actually twice as large instead, that is to say, you are actually working with the interval -4 < x < 4 here as the basic unit.

When dealing with Fourier cosine and sine series, you are actually extending a non-periodic function onto a periodic even or odd domain. Hence the effective period is actually twice as large instead, that is to say, you are actually working with the interval -4 < x < 4 here as the basic unit.

I see, is this symmetrisation of the interval around x = 0 always necessary or does it depend on f(x)?

Well, if you want to express a non-periodic function in terms of a Fourier series, then you will have to choose how to extend it to a periodic function - there are arbitrarily many different ways of doing so, but for convenience, usually we will choose the odd or even extensions, which lead respectively to the Fourier sine and cosine series.

My function is only defined for 0 < x < 4. To make it periodic does my function become:

$$f(x)=\left\{\begin{array}{cc} 0,&\mbox{ if } -4< x < -2\\ 1,&\mbox{ if } -2< x < 0\\ 0,&\mbox{ if } 0< x < 2\\1, & \mbox{ if } 2<x<4\end{array}\right.$$

vela
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
No. Because you're asked to find the cosine series, you have to extend f(x) such that it's even about x=0.

Oreith
Thanks! Is the choice completely arbitrary for the complex exponential Fourier Series since it has both sine and cosine components?

LCKurtz
Homework Helper
Gold Member

## Homework Statement

[/B]
$$f(x)=\left\{\begin{array}{cc}0,&\mbox{ if } 0< x < 2\\1, & \mbox{ if } 2<x<4\end{array}\right.$$
Show that the Cosine Fourier Series of f(x) for the range [0,4] is given by:

$$A + B\sum^{\infty}_{n=0}\frac{(-1)^n}{(2m+1)}cos(\frac{(2m +1) \pi x}{2})$$

## Homework Equations

$$a_n = \frac{2}{L}\int^{x_0 + L}_{x_0} f(x)cos(\frac{2\pi nx}{L})dx$$
$$a_n = \frac 2 4 \int_0^4 f(x) \cos(\frac{n\pi x}{4})~dx$$

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I'm sorry but I don't really see that?

LCKurtz
Homework Helper
Gold Member
I'm sorry but I don't really see that?
Look here, for example:
http://www.intmath.com/fourier-series/4-fourier-half-range-functions.php [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator:
vela
Staff Emeritus