Probing the Structure-Dynamics Relationship with Terahertz Spectroscopy and Applications in Biological and Pharmaceutical Materials

Join Michael T. Ruggiero from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge to discuss the structure-dynamics relationship with terahertz spectroscopy.

Over the past two decades, terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) has become a valuable technique for the characterization of solid samples.

However, in recent years the role that specific terahertz vibrations play in a number of important physical phenomena has become increasingly apparent, with numerous studies highlighting how terahertz motions are directly responsible for the proper functioning of materials, ranging from enzymatic catalysis to solid-state phase transformations, and therefore understanding material properties is intrinsically linked to understanding the associated low-frequency dynamics.

In this work, the nature of terahertz-frequency motions in molecular solids will be used to determine a number of physical characteristics of biomolecular and pharmaceutical materials. Subsequently, the terahertz motions in disordered (amorphous) active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) will be shown to be a powerful tool for predicting the stability of these materials, and in addition the indicated dynamics can be exploited to induce specific crystallization by exciting the sample at certain distinctive frequencies corresponding to particular motion-types.

Overall, these findings provide a powerful demonstration that terahertz radiation can be used to direct the properties and structures of condensed phase materials through their low-frequency vibrations, ultimately enabling new approaches for designing advanced materials.