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Based on phase-matched collinear difference-frequency generation in a single GaSe crystal, continuously tunable and coherent radiation in the extremely wide ranges of 2.7–38.4 and 58.2–3540 μm has been achieved. This unique source has the additional advantages of high coherence (narrow linewidth) and simple alignment. The peak output power for the terahertz radiation reaches 209 W at the wavelength of 196 μm (1.53 THz), which corresponds to a power conversion efficiency of 0.055%. Moreover, the terahertz transmission spectra on DNA macromolecules and protein were directly measured, demonstrating some potential and important applications of this terahertz source. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.