Terahertz (THz) radiation lies between the infrared and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Advances in THz technology have opened up many opportunities in this scientifically and technologically important spectroscopic region. The THz frequency range excites large amplitude vibrational modes of molecules as well as probing the weak interactions between them. Here we describe two techniques that utilize THz radiation, terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI) and terahertz pulsed spectroscopy (TPS). Both have a variety of possible applications in biomedical imaging and pharmaceutical science. TPI, a non-invasive imaging technique, has been used to image epithelial cancer ex vivo and recently in vivo. The diseased tissue showed a change in absorption compared to normal tissue, which was confirmed by histology. To understand the origins of the differences seen between diseased and normal tissue we have developed a TPS system. TPS has also been used to study solids of interest in the pharmaceutical industry. One particularly interesting example is ranitidine hydrochloride, which is used in treatment of stomach ulcers. Crystalline ranitidine has two polymorphic forms known as form 1 and form 2. These polymorphs have the same chemical formula but different crystalline structure that give rise to different physiochemical properties of the material. Using TPS it is possible to rapidly distinguish between the two polymorphic forms.
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