Elementary Signals
his chapter begins with a discussion of elementary signals that may be applied to electric
networks. The unit step, unit ramp, and delta functions are then introduced. The sampling
and sifting properties of the delta function are defined and derived. Several examples for
expressing a variety of waveforms in terms of these elementary signals are provided. Throughout
this text, a left justified horizontal bar will denote the beginning of an example, and a right justified horizontal bar will denote the end of the example. These bars will not be shown whenever an
example begins at the top of a page or at the bottom of a page. Also, when one example follows
immediately after a previous example, the right justified bar will be omitted.
+
vS
t = 0
We wish to describe v out in a math form for the time interval < t < + . To do this, it is convenient to divide the time interval into two parts, < t < 0 , and 0 < t < .
For the time interval < t < 0 , the switch is open and therefore, the output voltage v out is zero.
In other words,
(1.1)
v out = 0 for < t < 0
For the time interval 0 < t < , the switch is closed. Then, the input voltage v S appears at the
output, i.e.,
(1.2)
v out = v S for 0 < t <
Combining (1.1) and (1.2) into a single relationship, we obtain
0 < t < 0
v out =
vS 0 < t <
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(1.3)
11
vS
0
The waveform of Figure 1.2 is an example of a discontinuous function. A function is said to be discontinuous if it exhibits points of discontinuity, that is, the function jumps from one value to
another without taking on any intermediate values.
0
u0 ( t ) =
1
(1.4)
t>0
In the waveform of Figure 1.3, the unit step function u 0 ( t ) changes abruptly from 0 to 1 at
t = 0 . But if it changes at t = t 0 instead, it is denoted as u 0 ( t t 0 ) . In this case, its waveform and
u0 ( t t0 )
t
t0
* In some books, the unit step function is denoted as u ( t ) , that is, without the subscript 0. In this text, however, we
will reserve the u ( t ) designation for any input when we will discuss state variables in Chapter 5.
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0
u0 ( t t0 ) =
1
(1.5)
t > t0
u0 ( t + t0 )
t
t0 0
t < t0
t > t0
(1.6)
Example 1.1
Consider the network of Figure 1.6, where the switch is closed at time t = T .
R
+
vS
t = T
v out open terminals
Express the output voltage v out as a function of the unit step function, and sketch the appropriate
waveform.
Solution:
For this example, the output voltage v out = 0 for t < T , and v out = v S for t > T . Therefore,
v out = v S u 0 ( t T )
(1.7)
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13
v out
0
Other forms of the unit step function are shown in Figure 1.8.
(a)
A
A u0 ( t )
Au 0 ( t )
0
A u0 ( t )
(d)
(e)
A u0 ( t + T )
(h)
A
(f)
(c)
A u0 ( t + T )
Au 0 ( t T )
(g)
A u0 ( t T )
A
0
(b)
Au 0 ( t + T )
A u0 ( t T )
(i)
Unit step functions can be used to represent other timevarying functions such as the rectangular
pulse shown in Figure 1.9.
u0 ( t )
1
0
1
(a)
0
(b)
1
0
t
(c)
u0 ( t 1 )
Figure 1.9. A rectangular pulse expressed as the sum of two unit step functions
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}
T
2T
3T
0
A
Solution:
Line segment { has height A , starts at t = 0 , and terminates at t = T . Then, as in Example 1.1, this
segment is expressed as
v1 ( t ) = A [ u0 ( t ) u0 ( t T ) ]
(1.8)
(1.10)
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(1.11)
15
(1.12)
+A [ u 0 ( t 2T ) u 0 ( t 3T ) ] A [ u 0 ( t 3T ) u 0 ( t 4T ) ]
(1.13)
Example 1.3
Express the symmetric rectangular pulse of Figure 1.11 as a sum of unit step functions.
A
T 2
i(t)
T2
Solution:
This pulse has height A , starts at t = T 2 , and terminates at t = T 2 . Therefore, with reference to Figures 1.5 and 1.8 (b), we obtain
T
T
T
T
i ( t ) = Au 0 t +  Au 0 t  = A u 0 t +  u 0 t 
2
2
2
2
(1.14)
Example 1.4
Express the symmetric triangular waveform of Figure 1.12 as a sum of unit step functions.
1
T 2
v(t)
T2
Solution:
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v( t)
T 2
2
 t + 1
T

T2
(1.15)
v 2 ( t ) = 2 t + 1 u 0 ( t ) u 0 t T

T
(1.16)
2
T
(1.17)
Example 1.5
Express the waveform of Figure 1.14 as a sum of unit step functions.
3
v( t)
2
1
Solution:
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17
v(t)
{
2t + 1
t+3

0
(1.18)
Two other functions of interest are the unit ramp function, and the unit impulse or delta function.
We will introduce them with the examples that follow.
Example 1.6
In the network of Figure 1.16 i S is a constant current source and the switch is closed at time
t = 0 . Express the capacitor voltage v C ( t ) as a function of the unit step.
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+
C
iS
vC ( t )
Solution:
The current through the capacitor is i C ( t ) = i S = cons tan t , and the capacitor voltage v C ( t ) is
1
v C ( t ) = C
C ( ) d
(1.19)
(1.20)
i S u 0 ( ) d =
iS
C
u0 ( ) d
1
v C ( t ) = C
iS
+ C
0 u 0 ( ) d
(1.21)
or
iS
v C ( t ) =  tu 0 ( t )
C
(1.22)
Therefore, we see that when a capacitor is charged with a constant current, the voltage across it is
a linear function and forms a ramp with slope i S C as shown in Figure 1.17.
vC ( t )
slope = i S C
0
Figure 1.17. Voltage across a capacitor when charged with a constant current source
* Since the initial condition for the capacitor voltage was not specified, we express this integral with at the lower limit of
integration so that any nonzero value prior to t < 0 would be included in the integration.
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19
u 0 ( ) d
(1.23)
1
t
Therefore, we define u 1 ( t ) as
0
u1 ( t ) =
t
t<0
(1.24)
t0
(1.25)
Higher order functions of t can be generated by repeated integration of the unit step function. For
example, integrating u 0 ( t ) twice and multiplying by 2 , we define u 2 ( t ) as
Similarly,
and in general,
0
u2 ( t ) = 2
t
t<0
0
u3 ( t ) = 3
t
t<0
0
un ( t ) = n
t
t0
t0
t<0
t0
or
u2 ( t ) = 2
or
u3 ( t ) = 3
or
un ( t ) = 3
u1 ( ) d
t
u2 ( ) d
t
u n 1 ( ) d
(1.26)
(1.27)
(1.28)
Also,
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(1.29)
Example 1.7
In the network of Figure 1.19, the switch is closed at time t = 0 and i L ( t ) = 0 for t < 0 . Express
the inductor current i L ( t ) in terms of the unit step function.
R
t = 0
iL ( t )
vL ( t )
L
iS
Solution:
The voltage across the inductor is
di L
v L ( t ) = L dt
(1.30)
iL ( t ) = iS u0 ( t )
(1.31)
d
v L ( t ) = Li S  u 0 ( t )
dt
(1.32)
and
( ) d
= u0 ( t )
( t ) = 0 for all t 0
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(1.33)
(1.34)
111
Figure (a)
1
2
Area =1
Figure (b)
The function of Figure 1.20 (a) becomes the unit step as 0 . Figure 1.20 (b) is the derivative of
Figure 1.20 (a), where we see that as 0 , 1 2 becomes unbounded, but the area of the rectangle remains 1 . Therefore, in the limit, we can think of ( t ) as approaching a very large spike or
impulse at the origin, with unbounded amplitude, zero width, and area equal to 1 .
Two useful properties of the delta function are the sampling property and the sifting property.
(1.35)
f ( t ) ( t ) = f ( 0 ) ( t )
(1.36)
or, when a = 0 ,
that is, multiplication of any function f ( t ) by the delta function ( t ) results in sampling the function at the time instants where the delta function is not zero. The study of discretetime systems is
based on this property.
Proof:
Since ( t ) = 0 for t < 0 and t > 0 then,
f ( t ) ( t ) = 0 for t < 0 and t > 0
(1.37)
(1.38)
We rewrite f ( t ) as
Integrating (1.37) over the interval to t and using (1.38), we obtain
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f ( ) ( ) d =
f ( 0 ) ( ) d +
[ f ( ) f ( 0 ) ] ( ) d
(1.39)
The first integral on the right side of (1.39) contains the constant term f ( 0 ) ; this can be written
outside the integral, that is,
t
f ( 0 ) ( ) d = f ( 0 )
( ) d
(1.40)
The second integral of the right side of (1.39) is always zero because
( t ) = 0 for t < 0 and t > 0
and
[f( ) f(0 ) ]
=0
= f(0 ) f( 0) = 0
f ( ) ( ) d = f ( 0 )
( ) d
(1.41)
(1.42)
f ( t ) ( t ) dt
= f()
(1.43)
that is, if we multiply any function f ( t ) by ( t ) , and integrate from to + , we will obtain
the value of f ( t ) evaluated at t = .
Proof:
Let us consider the integral
b
a f ( t ) ( t ) dt
(1.44)
We will use integration by parts to evaluate this integral. We recall from the derivative of products that
d ( xy ) = xdy + ydx or xdy = d ( xy ) ydx
(1.45)
and integrating both sides we obtain
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113
x dy
(1.46)
= xy y dx
Now, we let x = f ( t ) ; then, dx = f ( t ) . We also let dy = ( t ) ; then, y = u 0 ( t ) . By substitution into (1.44), we obtain
b
f ( t ) ( t ) dt = f ( t )u 0 ( t )
a
a u0 ( t )f ( t ) dt
(1.47)
We have assumed that a < < b ; therefore, u 0 ( t ) = 0 for < a , and thus the first term of the
right side of (1.47) reduces to f ( b ) . Also, the integral on the right side is zero for < a , and therefore, we can replace the lower limit of integration a by . We can now rewrite (1.47) as
b
a
and letting
f ( t ) ( t ) dt = f ( b )
f ( t ) d t
= f( b) f( b) + f( )
, we obtain
f ( t ) ( t ) dt = f ( )
(1.48)
Sifting Property of ( t )
n
( t ) =  [ u 0 ( t ) ]
dt
(1.49)
The function ' ( t ) is called doublet, '' ( t ) is called triplet, and so on. By a procedure similar to the
derivation of the sampling property of the delta function, we can show that
f ( t )' ( t a ) = f ( a )' ( t a ) f ' ( a ) ( t a )
(1.50)
Also, the derivation of the sifting property of the delta function can be extended to show that
114
n
nd
f ( t ) ( t ) dt = ( 1 ) n [ f ( t ) ]
dt
(1.51)
t=
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b.
Solution:
t ( t 2 ) dt
c. t ' ( t 3 )
2
3t ( t 1 ) = { 3t
4
t=1
} ( t 1 ) = 3 ( t 1 )
f ( t ) ( t ) dt
= 2 . Then,
t ( t 2 ) dt = f ( 2 ) = t t = 2 = 2
c. The given expression contains the doublet; therefore, we use the relation
f ( t )' ( t a ) = f ( a )' ( t a ) f ' ( a ) ( t a )
t ' ( t 3 ) = t
2
t=3
d 2
' ( t 3 )  t
dt
t=3
( t 3 ) = 9' ( t 3 ) 6 ( t 3 )
Example 1.9
a. Express the voltage waveform v ( t ) shown in Figure 1.21 as a sum of unit step functions for the
time interval 1 < t < 7 s .
b. Using the result of part (a), compute the derivative of v ( t ) and sketch its waveform.
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115
(V)
3
2
1
1
7
t (s)
1
2
Solution:
a. We begin with the derivation of the equations for the linear segments of the given waveform as
shown in Figure 1.22.
v(t)
v(t) (V)
t+5
3
2
t+6
t (s)
1
2
2t
(1.52)
+ ( t + 6 ) [ u0 ( t 5 ) u0 ( t 7 ) ]
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or
v ( t ) = 2tu 0 ( t + 1 ) + ( 2t + 2 )u 0 ( t 1 ) + ( t + 3 )u 0 ( t 2 )
+ ( t 4 )u 0 ( t 4 ) + ( t + 5 )u 0 ( t 5 ) + ( t 6 )u 0 ( t 7 )
b. The derivative of v ( t ) is
dv
 = 2u 0 ( t + 1 ) + 2t ( t + 1 ) 2u 0 ( t 1 ) + ( 2t + 2 ) ( t 1 )
dt
u 0 ( t 2 ) + ( t + 3 ) ( t 2 ) + u 0 ( t 4 ) + ( t 4 ) ( t 4 )
(1.53)
u 0 ( t 5 ) + ( t + 5 ) ( t 5 ) + u 0 ( t 7 ) + ( t 6 ) ( t 7 )
From the given waveform, we observe that discontinuities occur only at t = 1 , t = 2 , and
t = 7 . Therefore, ( t 1 ) = 0 , ( t 4 ) = 0 , and ( t 5 ) = 0 , and the terms that contain
these delta functions vanish. Also, by application of the sampling property,
2t ( t + 1 ) = { 2t
t = 1
} ( t + 1 ) = 2 ( t + 1 )
( t + 3 ) ( t 2 ) = { ( t + 3 )
( t 6 ) ( t 7 ) = { ( t 6 )
t=2
t=7
} ( t 2 ) = ( t 2 )
} ( t 7 ) = ( t 7 )
(1.54)
+ ( t 2 ) + u0 ( t 4 ) u0 ( t 5 ) + u0 ( t 7 ) + ( t 7 )
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117
(V s)
(t 7)
(t 2)
1
1
7
t (s)
2 ( t + 1 )
We observe that a negative spike of magnitude 2 occurs at t = 1 , and two positive spikes of
magnitude 1 occur at t = 2 , and t = 7 . These spikes occur because of the discontinuities at
these points.
It would be interesting to observe the given signal and its derivative on the Scope block of the
Simulink* model of Figure 1.24. They are shown in Figure 1.25.
The waveform created by the Signal Builder block is shown in Figure 1.25.
* A brief introduction to Simulink is presented in Appendix B. For a detailed procedure for generating piecewise
linear functions with Simulinks Signal Builder block, please refer to Introduction to Simulink with Engineering
Applications, ISBN 0974423971
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0
u0 ( t ) =
1
t>0
The unit step function offers a convenient method of describing the sudden application of a
u 0 ( ) d
The unit impulse or delta function, denoted as ( t ) , is the derivative of the unit step u 0 ( t ) . It is
also defined as
t
( ) d
and
= u0 ( t )
( t ) = 0 for all t 0
The sampling property of the delta function states that
f ( t ) ( t a ) = f ( a ) ( t )
or, when a = 0 ,
f ( t ) ( t ) = f ( 0 ) ( t )
f ( t ) ( t ) dt
= f()
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Exercises
1.7 Exercises
1. Evaluate the following functions:

a. sin t t
6

b. cos 2t t

d. tan 2t t
e.

c. cos t t
2
2
2 t
t e
( t 2 ) dt

f. sin t 1 t
2
2
2.
a. Express the voltage waveform v ( t ) shown below as a sum of unit step functions for the time
interval 0 < t < 7 s .
v(t) (V)
v(t)
20
e
2t
10
0
1
t(s)
10
20
b. Using the result of part (a), compute the derivative of v ( t ) , and sketch its waveform. This
waveform cannot be used with Sinulinks Function Builder block because it contains the
decaying exponential segment which is a nonlinear function.
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123
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t = 6
 = cos 2t
b. cos 2t t
t
 = cos  t
 = 0
4
2 4
t = 4
 = tan 2t
d. tan 2t t
t = 8
1
1
2 t
t e
2 t
( t 2 ) dt = t e
t=2
= 4e
f ( t ) ( t ) dt
= f ( ) . Thus,
= 0.54
We recall that the sampling property for the doublet states that
f ( t )' ( t a ) = f ( a )' ( t a ) f ' ( a ) ( t a )
Thus,
2 1
2
t = 2
d
2
1
1
=  ( 1 cos 2t )
2
f.
t = 2
t = 2
t  sin 2t
2
t 
2
t = 2
t 
2
1
1
1
2.
a.
v( t) = e
2t
[ u 0 ( t ) u 0 ( t 2 ) ] + ( 10t 30 ) [ u 0 ( t 2 ) u 0 ( t 3 ) ]
+ ( 10 t + 50 ) [ u 0 ( t 3 ) u 0 ( t 5 ) ] + ( 10t 70 ) [ u 0 ( t 5 ) u 0 ( t 7 ) ]
v(t) = e
2t
u0 ( t ) e
2t
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125
2t
u0 ( t ) + ( e
2t
+ ( 10t + 70 )u 0 ( t 7 )
b.
2t
2t
2t
2t
dv
 = 2e u 0 ( t ) + e ( t ) + ( 2e + 10 )u 0 ( t 2 ) + ( e + 10t 30 ) ( t 2 )
dt
(1)
10u 0 ( t 7 ) + ( 10t + 70 ) ( t 7 )
2t
+ 10t 30 ) ( t 2 ) = ( e
2t
+ 10t 30 )
( 20t + 80 ) ( t 3 ) = ( 20t + 80 )
( 20t 120 ) ( t 5 ) = ( 20t 120 )
t=3
t=5
t=2
( t 2 ) 10 ( t 2 )
( t 3 ) = 20 ( t 3 )
( t 5 ) = 20 ( t 5 )
2t
u 0 ( t ) + 2e
2t
u 0 ( t 2 ) + 10u 0 ( t 2 ) 10 ( t 2 )
2t
[ u 0 ( t ) u 0 ( t 2 ) ] 10 ( t 2 ) + 10 [ u 0 ( t 2 ) u 0 ( t 3 ) ] + 20 ( t 3 )
10 [ u 0 ( t 3 ) u 0 ( t 5 ) ] 20 ( t 5 ) + 10 [ u 0 ( t 5 ) u 0 ( t 7 ) ]
(V s)
20 ( t 3 )
20
10
10
t (s)
10 ( t 2 )
20
2e
126
1
2t
20 ( t 5 )
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