Infrared pump-probe investigation of melanin vibrational relaxations

CHED 988

Aaron M. Massari, massari@umn.edu1, Sarah A. Weinreis, saweinre@mtu.edu2, and Audrey A. Eigner1. (1) Department of Chemistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (2) Department of Chemistry, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI 49931
Melanin is a biological polymer of great interest to the scientific community. It is believed to play a role in the development of melanoma and Parkinson's disease, and its semiconducting properties make it a candidate for a variety of technological applications. While melanin is a substance of great importance, surprisingly little is known about its polymerization pathway and structure. The goal of this research is to compare energy dissipation properties of melanin samples prepared using a variety of techniques. The melanin samples were characterized using FTIR and studied using femtosecond infrared pump-probe spectroscopy. The pump-probe results allow for comparison of the samples' efficiency at dissipating energy. These results will indicate the extent to which different preparative techniques produce melanin polymers with similar structural characteristics.