Understanding the PWM nonlinearity: Single-sided modulation
This paper provides a new look at the mechanisms underlying pulse width modulation (PWM). A simple approach to analyze the behavior of a single-sided pulse width modulator is presented. By using elementary methods, the pulse-width-modulated waveform is written as the sum of two sawtooth functions and the original modulating waveform. Simply applying the well-known Fourier series expansion of the sawtooth function, an equivalent model of the pulse width modulator, which shows that it is in essence a sequence of phase modulators, is derived. This model provides a clear understanding of the nonlinearities involved in the PWM process. It is shown how the superposition of modulating waveforms in the time-domain translates into the convolution of the sidebands in the frequency domain. Finally, the interaction of the pulse width modulator and a sample-and-hold register is studied and a general expression for the Fourier transform of a regular-sampled PWM waveform is derived. The analysis applies to periodic as well as aperiodic modulating waveforms. © 2011 IEEE.