Theoretical modeling of the terahertz spectrum of l-tyrosine leads to experimental verification of previously unobserved vibrational mode

Publication Name

Journal of Chemical Physics


We have calculated the theoretical terahertz spectrum of the amino acid l-tyrosine using density functional theory (DFT). We tried two electron density functionals, Perdew-Burke-Ernzerhof (PBE) and PBE-d3. PBE-d3 includes dispersion corrections to build in van der Waals interactions, which play a role in intermolecular bonding. Both DFT models predicted a low-frequency mode that has not been previously reported. We designed an experiment to search for this mode. Using a deliberately thick sample, intense synchrotron radiation, low temperatures, and temperature variation has enabled us to observe a new resonance at 1.79 ±0.01 THz. While the PBE and PBE-d3 spectra are similar and both match the low-energy experimental data, overall the PBE-d3 appears to be slightly superior. Further refinement still of the functional may lead to even better agreement with experiment above 2.4 THz.

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Funding Sponsor

National Computational Infrastructure



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