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Proceedings Paper

The effect of copper on eumelanin photophysics and morphology
Author(s): David J. S. Birch; Jens U. Sutter
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Paper Abstract

Despite being an important pigment in skin, hair, the eye and the brain, melanin remains one of the most enigmatic of pigments. Although the main constituents of melanin are known to be dihydroxyindoles, its photophysics is complex and its detailed structure remains unknown. In this work we have arrested prior to completion the usual synthesis of eumelanin formed via auto-oxidation of 3, 4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (L-DOPA), by the addition of copper ions. Using fluorescence techniques we report how copper modifies the self assembly of eumelanin by reducing the time to the onset of aggregation at pH 10 and yet produces simplified photophysics in terms of a clearly-defined fluorescence spectrum and a fluorescence decay that is described well by a dominant single lifetime of ~ 6ns. This behavior is consistent with copper inducing an enhanced abundance of 5,5-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid (DHICA). Metal ion binding to melanin is of particular importance to neurology and has potential applications in optoelectronics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 February 2013
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 8587, Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues XI, 858705 (22 February 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.999948
Show Author Affiliations
David J. S. Birch, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
Jens U. Sutter, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8587:
Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues XI
Daniel L. Farkas; Dan V. Nicolau; Robert C. Leif, Editor(s)

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