Transition dipole strength of eumelanin

TitleTransition dipole strength of eumelanin
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsRiesz, J. J., Gilmore J. B., McKenzie Ross H., Powell Ben J., Pederson M. R., and Meredith Paul
JournalPhysical Review E
AbstractWe report the transition dipole strength of eumelanin (the principal human photoprotective pigment) in the ultraviolet and visible. We have used both theoretical (density functional) and experimental methods to show that eumelanin is not an unusually strong absorber amongst organic chromophores. This is somewhat surprising given its role as a photoprotectant, and suggests that the dark coloring in vivo (and in vitro) of the eumelanin pigment is a concentration effect. Furthermore, by observing the polymerization of a principle precursor (5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid) into the full pigment, we observe that eumelanin exhibits a small amount (similar to 20%) of hyperchromism (i.e., the reaction process enhances the light absorption ability of the resultant macromolecule relative to its monomeric precursor). These results have significant implications for our understanding of the photophysics of these important functional biomolecules. In particular, they appear to be consistent with the recently proposed chemical disorder secondary structure model of eumelanins.