Spectroscopy of Biomolecules


This curricular unit aims to provide a comprehensive understanding about spectroscopic techniques used in the field of biochemistry. It seeks to provide a concise review on techniques previously studied within the Bologna first cycle, as well as complementary information on more advanced techniques that have significantly contributed to the advancement of knowledge. Also, intends to expose students to current research topics, focusing their efforts in the comprehension of biochemical systems by the use of complementary spectroscopic tools. 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Sofia Rocha Pauleta


Weekly - 4

Total - 56

Teaching language



There are no requirements, but this curricular unit relies on previous knowledge of general concepts of Chemistry and Biology.


  1. “Physical methods in bioinorganic chemistry: spectroscopy and magnetism.” Lawrence Que, University Science Books, 2000.
  2. “Spectroscopy for the biological sciences.”, Gordon G. Hames, Wiley-Interscience, 2005.
  3. "Spectroscopy: Principles and Instrumentation”, Mark F. Vitha, Wiley, 2019
  4. "Radiation in Bioanalysis: Spectroscopic Techniques and Theoretical Methods", Alice S. Pereira, Pedro Tavares, Paulo Limão-Vieira. Springer-Nature, Springer Bioanalysis series, 2019.
  5. Peer-reviewed papers on specific topics.

Teaching method

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

  1. Theoretical classes, illustrated whenever possible with practical cases;
  2. Laboratory classes, for which themes will be given and students will have to develop and execute a protocol related to a case study;
  3. Data anaysis classes, designed to train the students in data analysis and enable them to understand how to obtain information from the techniques discussed;
  4. Seminar classes lectured in the format of a scientific meeting, in which the students will present their work in the format of poster and oral communications, and discuss the data with the audience.

Also, the students will be asked to write a report of their work, that can be in the format of a scientific paper.

Evaluation method


- delivery of 4 reports of data analysis: 25%

- Experimental performance and report: 45%

- Oral communication and Discussion: 30%

Frequence: attendence of 2/3 of TP and P classes, delivery of all questionnaires, 100% of attendence of oral communications (of all the groups).

Subject matter

  1. Electronic spectra
    1. Absorption, Ultraviolet and Fluorescence spectra
    2. Fluorescence Energy Transfer and its application to biological systems
  2. Circular Dichroism and Optical Rotatory Dispersion
  3. Vibrational spectroscopy
    1. Infrared spectroscopy
    2. Raman spectroscopy
    3. Resonance Raman spectroscopy
  4. Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectroscopy
  5. Mössbauer spectroscopy
  6. Case studies


Programs where the course is taught: