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A New Approach for Estimation of Instantaneous Mean Frequency of a Time-Varying Signal


Analysis of nonstationary signals is a challenging task. True nonstationary signal analysis involves monitoring the frequency changes of the signal over time (i.e., monitoring the instantaneous frequency (IF) changes). The IF of a signal is traditionally obtained by taking the first derivative of the phase of the signal with respect to time. This poses some difficulties because the derivative of the phase of the signal may take negative values thus misleading the interpretation of instantaneous frequency. In this paper, a novel approach to extract the IF from its adaptive time-frequency distribution is proposed. The adaptive time-frequency distribution of a signal is obtained by decomposing the signal into components with good time-frequency localization and by combining the Wigner distribution of the components. The adaptive time-frequency distribution thus obtained is free of cross-terms and is a positive time-frequency distribution but it does not satisfy the marginal properties. The marginal properties are achieved by applying the minimum cross-entropy optimization to the time-frequency distribution. Then, IF may be obtained as the first central moment of this adaptive time-frequency distribution. The proposed method of IF estimation is very powerful for applications with low SNR. A set of real-world and synthetic signals of known IF dynamics is tested with the proposed method as well as with other common time-frequency distributions. The simulation shows that the method successfully extracted the IF of the signals.

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Correspondence to Sridhar Krishnan.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Krishnan, S. A New Approach for Estimation of Instantaneous Mean Frequency of a Time-Varying Signal. EURASIP J. Adv. Signal Process. 2005, 126031 (2005).

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Keywords and phrases

  • instantaneous frequency
  • nonstationary signals
  • positive time-frequency distributions
  • matching pursuit
  • minimum cross-entropy optimization
  • average frequency