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The magnetic characterization of metal-doped synthetic melanin nanomaterials


Synthetic melanins are incredibly versatile materials that have captured the attention of chemists and materials scientists due to the remarkable properties they share with natural melanins, such as adhesion, sequestration of metals and organic molecules, and biocompatibility. The facile and sustainable production of these materials involves oxidation of the catechol moiety of the dopamine monomer in mild and alkaline conditions, inducing the polymerization of the starting material into polydopamine. These materials have myriad applications, in areas such as energy (e.g. lithium ion batteries, supercapacitors), water treatment (e.g. metal and organic pollutant removal, desalination), and biomedical sciences (e.g. drug delivery, imaging contrast agents). The structure and function of these polydopamine materials is discussed in further detail in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 describes the materials and methods used to prepare synthetic melanins for characterization via magnetometry to probe the effects of small variations employed in the synthetic procedures on the electronic structure of these materials. In Chapter 3, the results of this work are discussed, showing evidence of the buffer solution’s influence on the magnetic behavior of the samples. Finally, Chapter 4 proposes future studies for the continuation of this project.

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