Amplitude and phase-shift keying

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Amplitude and phase-shift keying or asymmetric phase-shift keying (APSK) is a digital modulation scheme that conveys data by changing, or modulating, both the amplitude and the phase of a reference signal (the carrier wave). In other words, it combines both amplitude-shift keying (ASK) and phase-shift keying (PSK) to increase the symbol-set. It can be considered as a superclass of quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). The advantage over conventional QAM, for example 16-QAM, is lower number of possible amplitude levels.

Moreover, a careful design of the constellation geometry can approach the Gaussian capacity as the constellation size grows to infinity. For the regular QAM constellations, a gap of 1.56 dB is observed. The previous solution, where the constellation has a Gaussian shape, is called constellation shaping.


  • DVB-Flexible Serially Concatenated Convolutional Turbo Codes with Near-Shannon bound performance for telemetry applications, CCSDS-131.2-O-1.
  • H. Méric, Approaching The Gaussian Channel Capacity With APSK Constellations, IEEE Communications Letters.
  • Xiang, Xingyu; Valenti, Matthew C (2012-10-17). "Closing the Gap to the Capacity of APSK: Constellation Shaping and Degree Distributions". arXiv:1210.4831 [cs.IT].