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Hydration-Controlled X-Band EPR Spectroscopy: A Tool for Unravelling the Complexities of the Solid-State Free Radical in Eumelanin

A. Bernardus Mostert, Graeme R. Hanson, Tadeusz Sarna, Ian R. Gentle, Benjamin J. Powell, Paul Meredith Orcid Logo, Bernard Mostert Orcid Logo

The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Volume: 117, Issue: 17, Pages: 4965 - 4972

Swansea University Authors: Paul Meredith Orcid Logo, Bernard Mostert Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1021/jp401615e

Abstract

Melanin, the human skin pigment, is found everywhere in nature. Recently it has gained significant attention for its potential bioelectronic properties. However, there remain significant obstacles in realizing its electronic potential, in particular, the identity of the solid-state free radical in e...

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Published in: The Journal of Physical Chemistry B
ISSN: 1520-6106 1520-5207
Published: 2013
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa38483
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Abstract: Melanin, the human skin pigment, is found everywhere in nature. Recently it has gained significant attention for its potential bioelectronic properties. However, there remain significant obstacles in realizing its electronic potential, in particular, the identity of the solid-state free radical in eumelanin, which has been implicated in charge transport. We have therefore undertaken a hydration-controlled continuous-wave electron paramagnetic resonance study on solid-state eumelanin. Herein we show that the EPR signal from solid-state eumelanin arises predominantly from a carbon-centered radical but with an additional semiquinone free radical component. Furthermore, the spin densities of both of these radicals can be manipulated using water and pH. In the case of the semiquinone radical, the comproportionation reaction governs the pH- and hydration-dependent behavior. In contrast, the mechanism underlying the carbon-centered radical’s pH- and hydration-dependent behavior is not clear; consequently, we have proposed a new destacking model in which the intermolecular structure of melanin is disordered due to π–π destacking, brought about by the addition of water or increased pH, which increases the proportion of semiquinone radicals via the comproportionation reaction.
Keywords: Melanin, electron paramagnetic resonance, semiquinone, carbon centered radicalm, comproportionation reaction, destacking
College: College of Science
Issue: 17
Start Page: 4965
End Page: 4972