Leakage, more explicitly called spectral leakage, is a smearing of power across a frequency spectrum that occurs when the signal being measured is not periodic in the sample interval. It occurs because discrete sampling results in the effective computation of a Fourier series of a waveform having discontinuities, which result in additional frequency components. Leakage is the most common error encountered in digital signal processing, and while its effects cannot be entirely eliminated, they may sometimes be reduced with the aid of a suitable apodization function.

See also

Aliasing, Apodization Function, Discrete Fourier Transform, Fast Fourier Transform

Explore with Wolfram|Alpha


Press, W. H.; Flannery, B. P.; Teukolsky, S. A.; and Vetterling, W. T. "Power Spectrum Estimation Using the FFT." §13.4 in Numerical Recipes in FORTRAN: The Art of Scientific Computing, 2nd ed. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, pp. 542-551, 1992.Roberts, S. "Leakage." §7.2.2 in Lecture 7-The Discrete Fourier Transform. pp. 89-90.

Cite this as:

Weisstein, Eric W. "Leakage." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

Subject classifications