One challenging research target using terahertz spectroscopy is time-resolved terahertz spectroscopy of protein molecules to clarify the relationship between protein’s functions and the low-frequency collective motion within the molecule. Our results on two research topics necessary for this target are described. One is single-shot measurements of terahertz waveform that has large advantages in time-resolved terahertz spectroscopy. We examined experimentally and theoretically single-shot measurements using chirped optical pulses. The other is terahertz spectroscopy of reverse micellar solutions in which nanometer-sized water droplets are formed. Protein powder is usually used as a sample for terahertz spectroscopy because the absorption of terahertz waves by solvent water is very strong in aqueous solutions of protein, although protein molecules work in water. The absorption of terahertz waves by the nonpolar oil solvent in reverse micellar solution is considerably weak compared with that by water. We demonstrated that terahertz absorption spectra of protein in liquids are obtained by the use of protein-containing reverse micellar solution. On the other hand, a nanometer-sized water droplet in reverse micellar solutions is a promising candidate for studies of supercooled water. We made temperature-dependent terahertz spectroscopy of the water droplet to study collective water motions due to hydrogen bond networks.
Part of the book: Terahertz Spectroscopy