Polarization Sensitive THz TDS and Fabrication of Alignment Cells for Solution Phase THz Spectroscopy
George, Deepu Koshy
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The overall goal of this thesis is to explore polarization sensitive THz time domain spectroscopy techniques and elucidate the need for aligned sample studies in protein solution. To that end, I have chosen PYP as a model system to show the limitations of traditional, non-aligned sample THz TDS and progressed towards the fabrication of a Dynamical Alignment THz Spectroscopy sample cell for alignment based spectroscopy. Measurements on Photoactive Yellow Proteins address aspects of two previous studies with conflicting results. PYP was chosen as a model system because of its small size and ease of switching between functional states. My measurements in a more controlled environment eliminating the sources of errors and uncertainties in the previous studies have proved that THz dielectric response is invariant between the ground and excited states of PYP which vastly differ in their structure. This `negative' result proves that structural vibrational modes in protein solution are often masked by the background due to relaxational response from solvent and side chains. Low temperature measurements on Cytochrome C and Salmon testes DNA have shown contrast in THz measurements as a result of denaturing. At below freezing temperature the contribution from bulk water is minimized but any water which is unfrozen due to confinement will give rise to the background signal. Even though specific vibrational modes could still not be observed, low temperature measurements provided insights into the nature of interaction between protein surface and water. The section on Polarization Modulation Orientation Terahertz Spectroscopy deviates from the rest of this thesis in the sense that it was a technique developed to study solid state samples like 2DEG in GaAs as well as topological insulators, which give rise to a change in the polarization of the incident THz radiation as it is transmitted through them. Nevertheless this also falls into the general discussion in this thesis in the sense that it makes use of the polarization state of THz pulse which is also the case for the alignment spectroscopy. PMOTS technique detects the rotation and change in ellipticity to the incident polarization from which the hall coefficients of the sample can be calculated. The final section deals with the fabrication of Dynamical Alignment Terahertz Spectroscopy cells for solution phase measurements. Design, fabrication and process optimization are detailed. Micro-fabrication based on optical lithography and SU-8 negative photoresist has been explored.