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**Impulse invariance** is a technique for designing discrete-time infinite-impulse-response (IIR) filters from continuous-time filters in which the impulse response of the continuous-time system is sampled to produce the impulse response of the discrete-time system. The frequency response of the discrete-time system will be a sum of shifted copies of the frequency response of the continuous-time system; if the continuous-time system is approximately band-limited to a frequency less than the Nyquist frequency of the sampling, then the frequency response of the discrete-time system will be approximately equal to it for frequencies below the Nyquist frequency.

The continuous-time system's impulse response, , is sampled with sampling period to produce the discrete-time system's impulse response, .

Thus, the frequency responses of the two systems are related by

If the continuous time filter is approximately band-limited (i.e. when ), then the frequency response of the discrete-time system will be approximately the continuous-time system's frequency response for frequencies below π radians per sample (below the Nyquist frequency 1/(2*T*) Hz):

- for

Note that aliasing will occur, including aliasing below the Nyquist frequency to the extent that the continuous-time filter's response is nonzero above that frequency. The bilinear transform is an alternative to impulse invariance that uses a different mapping that maps the continuous-time system's frequency response, out to infinite frequency, into the range of frequencies up to the Nyquist frequency in the discrete-time case, as opposed to mapping frequencies linearly with circular overlap as impulse invariance does.

If the continuous poles at , the system function can be written in partial fraction expansion as

Thus, using the inverse Laplace transform, the impulse response is

The corresponding discrete-time system's impulse response is then defined as the following

Performing a z-transform on the discrete-time impulse response produces the following discrete-time system function

Thus the poles from the continuous-time system function are translated to poles at z = e^{skT}. The zeros, if any, are not so simply mapped.^{[clarification needed]}

If the system function has zeros as well as poles, they can be mapped the same way, but the result is no longer an impulse invariance result: the discrete-time impulse response is not equal simply to samples of the continuous-time impulse response. This method is known as the matched Z-transform method, or pole–zero mapping.

Since poles in the continuous-time system at *s* = *s _{k}* transform to poles in the discrete-time system at z = exp(

When a causal continuous-time impulse response has a discontinuity at , the expressions above are not consistent.^{[1]}
This is because has different right and left limits, and should really only contribute their average, half its right value , to .

Making this correction gives

Performing a z-transform on the discrete-time impulse response produces the following discrete-time system function

The second sum is zero for filters without a discontinuity, which is why ignoring it is often safe.

- Oppenheim, Alan V. and Schafer, Ronald W. with Buck, John R.
*Discrete-Time Signal Processing.*Second Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1999. - Sahai, Anant. Course Lecture. Electrical Engineering 123: Digital Signal Processing. University of California, Berkeley. 5 April 2007.
- Eitelberg, Ed. "Convolution Invariance and Corrected Impulse Invariance." Signal Processing, Vol. 86, Issue 5, pp. 1116–1120. 2006

- Impulse Invariant Transform at CircuitDesign.info Brief explanation, an example, and application to Continuous Time Sigma Delta ADC's.