- Open Access
A multiband RF signal sampling frequency selection method based on cylindrical surface spectrum analysis
© The Author(s). 2016
Received: 12 July 2016
Accepted: 28 November 2016
Published: 7 December 2016
Sampling frequency selection is a key issue in direct digitalization of the radio frequency (RF) signals. In this paper, we propose a cylindrical surface spectrum and arc distance-based sampling frequency selection method for multiband RF signals. In this method, a 3D visual expression of cylindrical surface spectrum of digital signal is introduced. This expression reflects better the circulatory nature of the spectrum of digital signals. It is found more intuitive, heuristic, and effective in dealing with undersampling issues of multiband RF signals than conventional spectrum expressions are. A function of arc distance between two frequency bands are also introduced which turns out to be useful in the determination of sampling frequency and design of digital filters.
In the application of modern electronic technology, sampling from continuous (analog) signal to obtain digital signal has become one of the most common technologies. The relationship between an analog signal and the digital signal sampled from it can be mathematically described by the sampling theorem. As for the baseband signal, the Nyquist criterion requires that the sampling frequency must be more than twice the upper limit of analog signal frequency band, which has long been well known in engineering design. However, with the rapid development of technology, the direct sampling of high frequency signal has become a reality and the Nyquist criterion under literal meaning has long been broken through. What is called “undersampling” technology (which means sampling at a rate below the Nyquist frequency) has been developed. But meanwhile, with the application of software radio idea and the emergence of new types of radar and new communication system, the RF signals and their spectrums are more and more complex. For example, in dual-frequency or multi-frequency radar, the RF echos contain multibands. And in 4G and the upcoming 5G communications, multicarrier or multiband RF signals are very common. These complex multiband signals pose new challenges to their sampling. In the past two decades, sampling and efficiently reconstructing multiband RF signals has been investigated in many literatures in recent years. The earliest study can be traced to the end of the last century. For example, Raman Venkataramani and Yoram Bresler investigated periodic nonuniform sampling and multichannel processing based sub-Nyquist sampling of multiband signals [1, 2]; Dennis M. Akos et al. studied direct bandpass sampling of multiple distinct RF signals and proposed a novel technique to determine the absolute minimum sampling frequency for direct digitization of multiple, nonadjacent, frequency bands . Moshe Mishali et al. discussed blind sampling and reconstruction of multiband signals and realized compressive sensing for multiband analog signals with relative small sampling rate under the condition that only the number of bands and their widths are assumed without any other limitations on the frequency support , but the theoretical lower bound on the average sampling rate is still twice the minimal rate of known-spectrum recovery. In , Satyabrata et.al presented an algorithm to determine the minimum bandpass sampling frequency for direct downconversion of multiple distinct RF signals, but in this literature, the iteration-based algorithm was a little complicated and besides, only the case of two frequency bands was considered. In , Jie-Cherng Liu reported an efficient method to find the ranges of valid bandpass sampling frequency for direct downconverting multiple bandpass analytic signals (single-sideband RF signals). The algorithm results in the ranges of valid bandpass sampling frequency for the complex signals in terms of bandwidths and band positions of the single-sideband RF signals. But in fact, just as the author said, compared to real bandpass sampling, the valid sampling frequency ranges of the analytic signals are easier to find than those of the real sampling. In recent years, the undersampling of multiband RF signals was still an issue which was frequently researched on, and many meaningful results were achieved [7–10]. For example, in , the authors proposed a method to select aliasing-free bandpass sampling frequency in optical phase-modulated and coherent detection (PM-CD) radio-over-fiber (RoF) links, but only two bands were considered. In the existing literatures for multiband signal sampling, all the analysis methods are based on frequency axes under the Cartesian coordinate system. Although the theoretical principle of these methods is still the sampling theorem, because of the disconnectivity between positive and negative frequency bands of the spectrum, getting digital signal spectrum from the analog signal spectrum according to the sampling theorem needs to shift the positive and negative frequency bands many times, which constitutes a complex picture. The key points of the problem are usually concealed by this seeming complexity, making us unable to obtain the essentials easily. Because the sampling problem of this kind of multiband signal has been increasingly common and important, to seek a more simple and clear geometric interpretation will be helpful in sampling and filtering the processing for this kind of signal in concept and even engineering design. So the cylindrical surface spectrum is proposed in this paper.
This tool has the advantage of intuition in concept, similar to the cylindrical phase surface in the oscillation theory and Riemann surface in the theory of complex variable functions . It is more of a tool that is assisting with the thinking and imagination than with the computing. With the assistance of this tool, the main points of the problem sometimes will be revealed more intensively and clearly, so it will even provide some enlightenment to solutions of some problems involving RF signal processing.
With the cylindrical surface spectrum tool, the concept of arc distance between digital signal frequency bands is introduced. This concept has some practical value in quantitative calculation of the sampling frequency selection and filter design for multiband RF signal digitalization.
2 Derivation of the cylindrical surface spectrum
In the equation, f s = 1/T s, representing the sampling frequency.
The familiar result leads us to obtain the spectrogram naturally by making left and right shift of the analog spectrum diagram on the frequency axis infinite time. That is to say, to show digital signal spectrum derived from sampling, more curves should be drawn. It is convenient to handle the sampling problem of the baseband signal in this way because the positive and negative frequency bands of this kind of signal spectrum are mutually connected. Moreover, it is enough to measure the serious degree of aliasing effect by making the right shift of an analog spectrum, and the contribution of further shift terms can be ignored. If we discuss the undersampling problem of the modulating signal, shift terms of the analog spectrum involved will be many. Furthermore, the positive and negative frequency bands of the spectrum for analog signal are mutually separate; consequently, the shifts of the two parts must be taken into account thus making the method of analog spectrum shift no longer an ideal tool for analyzing.
Thinking about the other terms in Eq. (7), we repeat the above steps. The transparent piece of paper in the interval ((2k − 1)π, (2k + 1)π] displays the amplitude magnitude of V(ω + 2kπ), which is any term in Eq. (7). As the value of k increases, the whole scaled analog spectrum |V(ω)| can be continuously expressed on the cylindrical surface. Therefore, the way of using a single curve and twining the cylindrical surface many layers replaces the way of using each shift term to represent the digital signal spectrum. By now, the aliasing effect is shown by twining the cylindrical surface with the same curve: more than one axis coordinate which are not equal to zero appear on the same circle coordinate of the curve. As a result of the addition of their corresponding complex number value, the shape of the digital spectrum is no longer similar with the spectrum of the analog signal used for sampling.
It can be seen from the figure above, at such sampling rate, although in digital frequency domain, the two modulating signals are separate from the baseband signal, they overlaps and cannot be separated by filtering. We will return back to use this example in the fourth section, and use the arc distance of frequency band to obtain the appropriate sampling rate, so as to separate the signals.
3 The arc distance between the digital signal spectrum
To simplify the calculation, the arc length of the semicircle is served as the calculation unit, then the factor π at the right most of the above equation can be eliminated. Moreover, among the filter calculating functions in MATLAB, it is used as the unit of the digital frequency.
In the equation, ξ = 2T s(Δf 2 − Δf 1). Let δ = T s(B 1 + B 2), obviously, − δ ≤ ξ ≤ δ.
4 Simulation and discussion of undersampling of the narrow-band signal
Because the maximum value of the function D cB (α 0, δ) is 1 − δ, it must be positive-valued. Otherwise, D cB (α 0, δ)≡0, meaning that the two mirror frequency bands are always overlapping with each other, and it is impossible to separate them. This request can be expressed as δ = 2T s B < 1 ⇒ f s > 2B.
Then, to find out the maximum value of D c(x), the parameter x should be varied.
As can be seen from the discussion above, the cylindrical surface spectrum reflects the periodicity of the digital spectrum more naturally and intuitively. Consequently, it becomes an effective and powerful tool in analyzing and designing the sampling and processing problems of the high-frequency signals. Obviously, they can help us form a clear and intuitive point of view about such problems.
The cylindrical surface spectrum can better reflect the existing operation of the digital signal processing such as demodulation and filtering more simply. Moreover, it can reflect the inner connection of all kinds of filtering characteristics more effectively.
With the help of MATLAB, the translucent cylindrical plotting becomes easy and workable, so it has the potential for popularizing. In addition, the concept of the arc distance between the signal bands is very useful in the sampling rate determination and the filter design.
Research for this paper was funded by the Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province (Project 2016JY0106) and the Education Department of Sichuan Province (Project 16ZA0209) of China.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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