[time-nuts] power spectrum of hard limiter output

jimlux jimlux at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 24 20:32:01 UTC 2011

On 1/24/11 11:44 AM, Magnus Danielson wrote:
> On 24/01/11 07:39, Bruce Griffiths wrote:
>> jimlux wrote:
>>> On 1/23/11 10:01 PM, Magnus Danielson wrote:
>>>> Jim,
>>>> On 24/01/11 02:35, jimlux wrote:
>>>>> I'm looking for a reference that gives the power spectrum of the
>>>>> output
>>>>> of a hard limiter (1 bit thresholder) with band limited noise and a
>>>>> single sinusoid.
>>>>> At high SNR, the output of the limiter is basically a square wave
>>>>> at at
>>>>> the input frequency, but as the SNR decreases, it starts to act like a
>>>>> soft limiter with a gaussian characteristic, so what is the power
>>>>> spectrum of the output?
>>>> It goes towards sine as I recall it. The gaussian noise rubs of
>>>> overtones. Gardner describes this in his PLL book. Setting up a nice
>>>> sawtooth detector is no good when seeing bad noise, as it will degrade
>>>> into a sine-detector anyways, so using a multiplier is better for those
>>>> conditions as you get a more stable property.
>>>> Another approach of understanding is to consider that when the gaussian
>>>> noise is sufficiently high it will start interpolate on the slope of
>>>> the
>>>> sine and as you add more noise more and more of the sine would
>>>> linearize
>>>> until you come to the point where it is linear. Soft-clipping will
>>>> indeed be similar.
>>>> I haven't seen a spectrum plot, but simulation in spice should be
>>>> trivial. Setting up a sine + noise, comparator and then a low-pass
>>>> filter should be a trivial SPICE setup. It does not take much
>>>> imagination to see that the spectrum will migrate from that of a square
>>>> over to that of a sine. It will loose power in those overtones.
>>> oh, yes.. I did the simulation, and modeled the aliasing of the
>>> overtones and all..
>>> I was looking for a reference to cite (you know how it is.. measure it
>>> yourself and it's something *you* did.. but cite someone who ground
>>> through it before, and it's worth a lot more...)
>> See:
>> http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=4101285
> http://archive.numdam.org/ARCHIVE/RSMUP/RSMUP_1969__42_/RSMUP_1969__42__1_0/RSMUP_1969__42__1_0.pdf
> http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA425520
> ... found using "hard limiter autocorrelation sine" in Google.

Excellent.. I had found the Aronson paper (wherein he effectively says 
"there's no simple analytical expression".. that's nice and justifies 
doing it by numerical modeling).  ANd the Jain paper (DTIC), which deals 
with multiple sines.  I hadn't run across the one by Greenhall  (who 
still works at JPL)...

Thanks a bunch to the nuts..


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