- We propose a new method for analysis of the sampling and reconstruction conditions of real and complex signals by use of the Wigner domain. It is shown that the Wigner domain may provide a better understanding of the sampling process than the traditional Fourier domain. For example, it explains how certain non-bandlimited complex functions can be sampled and perfectly reconstructed. On the basis of observations in the Wigner domain, we derive a generalization to the Nyquist sampling criterion. By using this criterion, we demonstrate simple preprocessing operations that can adapt a signal that does not fulfill the Nyquist sampling criterion. The preprocessing operations demonstrated can be easily implemented by optical means.