Sunday, 10 May 2015

Calculate Fourier transform of a gaussian using Matlab

While wondering around in the Matlab documentation I found out there is a simple way to calculate the Fourier transform of any function using Matlab. Furthermore by using the function pretty() you can print out the result in a more friendly manner.

Let’s calculate for example the Fourier transform of the function u(x) = e^(-x^2). This calculation could also be done on paper: by applying the definition I wrote in the earlier article one finds out that:

Immagine 1 Now, by using some properties of the transform (you can check them at, we can play around and plot some functions. Here is the original function and its FT:

Immagine 001

Let’s take the FT of e^(-(3x)^2)

Immagine 002

It’s worth noting that when the function gets thinner, its FT gets more spread and viceversa. This phenomena is useful to understand the uncertainty principle.

This you tube video explains the link between this mathematical tools and physics.

If you’d like to know more about the FT, check the wikipedia page:

Here is the Matlab code I used

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