The partition function of large biomolecules and its relevance to infrared and terahertz spectroscopy


Rutt, H.N. (2007) The partition function of large biomolecules and its relevance to infrared and terahertz spectroscopy. In, IRMMW-THz 2007: Joint 32nd International Conference on Infrared and Millimetre Waves and 15th International Conference on Terahertz Electronics, Cardiff, Wales, 02 - 07 Sep 2007. 2pp.

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Description/Abstract

Molecules of biological interest such as proteins and enzymes are typically very large compared to those traditionally studied by infrared and terahertz spectroscopy. The 'average' protein has some 5000 atoms and 15,000 vibrational modes. We show that this leads to extreme values of the partition function, essentially the probability of finding a molecule in the ground state, at room temperature. In fact for a practical sample at 300K the probability of finding a molecule in the ground state (or any other specific state) is vanishingly small since the partition function exceeds the number of molecules present by many orders of magnitude. Some implications of this fact for spectroscopy of these molecules, such as the impact of 'anharmonic broadening', sum and difference bands, are discussed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Invited
Related URLs:
Keywords: infrared, partition functions, proteins, spectroscopy, terahertz
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > Optoelectronics Research Centre
ePrint ID: 52056
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:35
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/52056

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