Spectroscopy in Biochemistry


This curricular unit aims to provide a comprehensive understanding about spectroscopic techniques used in the field of biochemistry. In the continuity of other Physical-Chemistry classes provides complementary information on spectroscopic techniques that have significantly contributed to the advancement of knowledge in the field of life sciences. 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Pedro António de Brito Tavares


Weekly - 3

Total - 55

Teaching language



Available soon


Radiation in Bioanalysis: Spectroscopic Techniques and Theoretical Methods
Alice S. Pereira, Pedro Tavares, Paulo Limão-Vieira
Springer-Nature, Springer Bioanalysis series (16 Nov 2019)

Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy
P.S. Sindhu
New Age International Pvt Ltd Publishers (30 Jan 2011)

Electron Paramagnetic Resonance: Elementary Theory and Practical Applications
John A. Weil and James R. Bolton
Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition edition (22 Dec 2006)

Spectroscopy for the Biological Sciences
Gordon G. Hammes
Wiley-Blackwell (22 July 2005)

Teaching method

The contents of the curricular unit will be presented in two class types:

  1. Theoretical-practical classes, abording fundamentals of the spectroscopies under study, using appropriate case studies whenever possible, as well as problem solving situations designed to train the students in data analysis and enable them to understand how to obtain information from the techniques discussed;
  2. Laboratory classes, for which themes will be given and students will have to develop and execute a protocol related to a case study;

Also, the students will be asked to write a report of their work and present a work proposal related to de studied  spectroscopies. 

Evaluation method

Please contact the professor responsible for this course.

Subject matter

Electronic and vibrational absorption. UV and visible spectra of nucleic acids and protein cofactors. Infrared spectroscopy. Equipment used in absorption spectroscopy. Study cases.

Linear and circular dichroism. Optical rotatory dispersion (ORD), Circular dichroism (CD), Linear dichroism. Equipment used in ORD and CD spectroscopies. CD and ORD and the macromolecular structure of proteins. Use of CD and ORD in nucleic acid studies. Study cases.

Fluorescence and phosphorescence spectroscopy. Fluorescence Resonant Energy Transfer and it’s application to biological systems. Equipment used in emission spectroscopy. Study cases.

Light dispersion in solutions of macromolecules. Dynamic light dispersion (DLS). Equipment used in DLS. Study cases.

Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectroscopy (EPR). Basic principles and procedures to study paramagnetic centers. Hyperfine interaction. Systems with more than a single unpaired electron. Equipment used in EPR measurements. Study cases.


Programs where the course is taught: