Biopolymers such as proteins, DNA and RNA fold into large, macromolecular chiral structures. As charged macromolecules, they absorb strongly in the terahertz due to large-scale collective vibrational modes; as chiral objects, this absorption should be coupled with significant circular dichroism. Terahertz circular dichroism (TCD) is potentially important as a biospecific sensor, unobscured by spectral features related to abiological material. We have constructed atomistic simulations and elastic continuum models of TCD. These models estimate the magnitude of the TCD and the relation between TCD spectroscopic signatures (zero crossings) and the structure, charge distribution and mechanical properties of biomaterials. A broad band TCD spectrometer based on a polarizing interferometer is developed to explore TCD in biomolecules in aqueous solution. Preliminary results on TCD in lysozyme in water at several terahertz frequencies is presented.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.