
Heterodyning is a shift in spatial frequency Heterodyning is the key EDI optical process that allows it to use low resolution spectrographs to measure narrow spectral features. The moire patterns are beats created by the heterodyning process between two different spatial frequencies. One is the input signal and the other is the interferometer transmission function. The latter periodicity is controlled by the interferometer delay, with larger delays making a finer comb (higher spatial frequency).
Generally, heterodyning is the shift in frequency f1 of a signal by a fixed amount f2, caused when the input signal is multiplied by a sinusoidal pattern having frequency f2. It is an electrical engineering term heterodyning is a processed used in almost all radios, TV's and radars to shift high frequency waves down to lower frequencies where they can be processed by lower cost components. Generally both upshifting (f=f1+f2) and downshifting (f=f1f2) heterodyning occurs. In the EDI, spectrograph blurring usually obscures the upshifted component so we ignore it (and it can be distinguished from the downshifted signal by the way it responds to phase stepping).
The heterodyning process is illustrated in the animation below, where an input spatial frequency of 100 waves per bandwidth is overlayed with one of 96, to creates beats or moire having spatial frequency of 10096=4 per bandwidth.
Stellar spectrum contains a variety of spatial frequencies The heterodyning process is illustrated most clearly with a single spatial frequency for the input, but realistic input spectra are rarely so periodic. Instead, they contain a variety of spatial frequencies. Through the process of Fourier decomposition, any arbitrary input signal can be considered to be a sum of many different pure frequency terms with various amplitudes. Even a single absorption line can be thought of this way. Since heterodyning shifts every component the same amount, then if the input spectrum is plotted as a distribution vs spatial frequency, this entire distribution is shifted along the spatial frequency axis.

