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Understanding Melanin: A Nano-Based Material for the future

A Mostert, P Meredith, B Powell, I Gentle, G Hanson, F Pratt, Bernard Mostert Orcid Logo

Nanomaterials, Issue: 1st

Swansea University Author: Bernard Mostert Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1201/b20041-6

Abstract

Melanin, the human skin pigment, is an emerging bioelectronic material due to its unique electrical properties as well as being readily prepared in electronic grade thin films on the nanometer scale. These electrical properties include bistable electrical switching, broadband optical absorbance, Arrh...

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Published in: Nanomaterials
ISBN: 978-981-4669-72-6 978-981-4669-73-3
Published: New York Pan Stanford 2016
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa38478
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Abstract: Melanin, the human skin pigment, is an emerging bioelectronic material due to its unique electrical properties as well as being readily prepared in electronic grade thin films on the nanometer scale. These electrical properties include bistable electrical switching, broadband optical absorbance, Arrhenius-dependent conductivity, and an electron paramagnetic free-radical signal. Furthermore, melanin has other electrical properties, such as water-dependent conductivity and potential protonic conduction. However, to use melanin as a bioelectronic material, greater clarity is required on its charge transport behavior. Here we show that the current charge transport model for melanin, an amorphous semiconductor model, cannot describe melanin’s hydration-dependent conductivity. We go on to show with a hydration-dependent muon spin resonance (μSR) experiment that melanin’s charge transport properties are described by a comproportionation reaction, in which water self-dopes the system with extra charge carriers. This new understanding of melanin’s charge transport properties opens up new avenues of exploration. We specifically see melanin as a candidate for nanoscale devices, which can act as transducers of ionic signals to electronic signals.
Keywords: Melanin, muon spin resonance, bioelectronics, charge transport, free radical
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Issue: 1st