There is increasing evidence that low-frequency vibrational motions play an important role in the proper function and behavior of biological materials. For instance, previous works have shown that terahertz vibrations help drive enzymatic catalysis, painting a promising picture for the control of biological processes using terahertz radiation.

Polyproline shows interesting terahertz dynamics. Measuring the elasticities of poly-L-proline helices with terahertz spectroscopy, Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., 128, 6991-6995, doi:10.1002/ange.201602268 (2016).

In the Ruggiero Lab, we are investigating these phenomena using high-field terahertz pulses. We have previously demonstrated that we can probe the mechanical response of biological macromolecules, in the case of a polypeptide, poly-proline. This area of research holds tremendous promise for utilizing terahertz radiation in a positive way to help understand biology, pretty cool!