Structure and Function of Iron-Loaded Synthetic Melanin

Yiwen Li, Yijun Xie, Zhao Wang, Nanzhi Zang, Fabio Carniato, Yuran Huang, Christopher M. Andolina, Lucas R. Parent, Treffly B. Ditri, Eric D. Walter, Mauro Botta, Jeffrey D. Rinehart*, Nathan C. Gianneschi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


We describe a synthetic method for increasing and controlling the iron loading of synthetic melanin nanoparticles and use the resulting materials to perform a systematic quantitative investigation on their structure-property relationship. A comprehensive analysis by magnetometry, electron paramagnetic resonance, and nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion reveals the complexities of their magnetic behavior and how these intraparticle magnetic interactions manifest in useful material properties such as their performance as MRI contrast agents. This analysis allows predictions of the optimal iron loading through a quantitative modeling of antiferromagnetic coupling that arises from proximal iron ions. This study provides a detailed understanding of this complex class of synthetic biomaterials and gives insight into interactions and structures prevalent in naturally occurring melanins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10186-10194
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 22 2016


  • MRI
  • antiferromagnetic coupling
  • magnetometry
  • polymerization
  • synthetic melanin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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