Scalar and vector slepian functions, spherical signal estimation and spectral analysis

Frederik Jozef Simons, Alain Plattner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


It is a well-known fact that mathematical functions that are timelimited (or spacelimited) cannot be simultaneously bandlimited (in frequency). Yet the finite precision of measurement and computation unavoidably bandlimits our observation and modeling scientific data, and we often only have access to, or are only interested in, a study area that is temporally or spatially bounded. In the geosciences we may be interested in spectrally modeling a time series defined only on a certain interval, or we may want to characterize a specific geographical area observed using an effectively bandlimited measurement device. It is clear that analyzing and representing scientific data of this kind will be facilitated if a basis of functions can be found that are "spatiospectrally" concentrated, i.e., "localized" in both domains at the same time. Here, we give a theoretical overview of one particular approach to this "concentration" problem, as originally proposed for time series by Slepian and coworkers, in the 1960s.We show how this framework leads to practical algorithms and statistically performant methods for the analysis of signals and their power spectra in one and two dimensions and particularly for applications in the geosciences and for scalar and vectorial signals defined on the surface of a unit sphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Geomathematics
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9783642545511
ISBN (Print)9783642545504
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Mathematics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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