Balian–Low theorem

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In mathematics, the Balian–Low theorem in Fourier analysis is named for Roger Balian and Francis E. Low. The theorem states that there is no well-localized window function (or Gabor atom) g either in time or frequency for an exact Gabor frame (Riesz Basis).

Suppose g is a square-integrable function on the real line, and consider the so-called Gabor system

g_{m,n}(x) = e^{2\pi i m b x} g(x - n a),

for integers m and n, and a,b>0 satisfying ab=1. The Balian–Low theorem states that if

\{g_{m,n}: m, n \in \mathbb{Z}\}

is an orthonormal basis for the Hilbert space


then either

 \int_{-\infty}^\infty x^2 | g(x)|^2\; dx = \infty \quad \textrm{or} \quad \int_{-\infty}^\infty \xi^2|\hat{g}(\xi)|^2\; d\xi = \infty.

The Balian–Low theorem has been extended to exact Gabor frames.

See also[edit]


  • Benedetto, John J.; Heil, Christopher; Walnut, David F. (1994). "Differentiation and the Balian–Low Theorem". Journal of Fourier Analysis and Applications 1 (4): 355–402. doi:10.1007/s00041-001-4016-5. 

This article incorporates material from Balian-Low on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.