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Concept# Spectral density estimation

Summary

In statistical signal processing, the goal of spectral density estimation (SDE) or simply spectral estimation is to estimate the spectral density (also known as the power spectral density) of a signal from a sequence of time samples of the signal. Intuitively speaking, the spectral density characterizes the frequency content of the signal. One purpose of estimating the spectral density is to detect any periodicities in the data, by observing peaks at the frequencies corresponding to these periodicities.
Some SDE techniques assume that a signal is composed of a limited (usually small) number of generating frequencies plus noise and seek to find the location and intensity of the generated frequencies. Others make no assumption on the number of components and seek to estimate the whole generating spectrum.
Spectrum analysis, also referred to as frequency domain analysis or spectral density estimation, is the technical process of decomposing a complex signal into simpler parts. As described above, many physical processes are best described as a sum of many individual frequency components. Any process that quantifies the various amounts (e.g. amplitudes, powers, intensities) versus frequency (or phase) can be called spectrum analysis.
Spectrum analysis can be performed on the entire signal. Alternatively, a signal can be broken into short segments (sometimes called frames), and spectrum analysis may be applied to these individual segments. Periodic functions (such as ) are particularly well-suited for this sub-division. General mathematical techniques for analyzing non-periodic functions fall into the category of Fourier analysis.
The Fourier transform of a function produces a frequency spectrum which contains all of the information about the original signal, but in a different form. This means that the original function can be completely reconstructed (synthesized) by an inverse Fourier transform. For perfect reconstruction, the spectrum analyzer must preserve both the amplitude and phase of each frequency component.

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