Articles, Blog

The electronic wonders of melanin

December 3, 2019


Melanin is a versatile molecule. Not only is it responsible for giving us our
UV-blocking complexion. At the cellular level, it gobbles up harmful
radicals that lead to diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s. But that’s only the beginning. Over the past decade, researchers have focused
on what might be melanin’s most promising talent yet discovered: the ability to conduct
electricity. That’s important, because if we fancy a future
where environmentally benign electronics help us fight disease, monitor our health, and
store energy, we’re going to need biofriendly materials. And what better material for the job than
one made right in-house. This is melanin in its most common form. When it comes to electrical charge, melanin
acts as a sort of bank: always ready to lend out or take electrons, depending on the environment. Chained together, as they naturally tend to
do, melanin molecules can shuffle electrons and surrounding ions end to end. The result is an all-natural electrode material. In terms of performance, it’s not on par
with the semiconductor materials we find in our phones and laptops. But because melanin is 100% compatible with
our body’s makeup, it’s a much safer starting material for building electronic devices:
both for us and the environment. Researchers have shown that melanin can act
as a switch when sandwiched between metal electrodes—turning on and off under different
applied voltages. It seems like a simple trick, but that switching
behavior is critical to the operation of any computing device. Polydopamine, a synthetic melanin analog,
has been used to extract harmful metal ions from water. And polydopamine-coated nanoparticles have
been shown to boost the sensitivity of tests designed to seek out diseases like HIV, Zika,
and cancer. Researchers are still learning how melanin
behaves when surrounded by the machinery that makes useful electronics work. But continued efforts from chemists, physicists,
and materials scientists are likely to result in exciting new applications for this highly
versatile molecule.

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11 Comments

  • Reply Tommy Mogaka November 10, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Great video! Does the intensity of electric conductivity vary with type of skin i.e. is the rate of charge transfer vary with with skin pigments e.g. darker skin or lighter skin?

  • Reply ticoz17 February 23, 2019 at 4:31 am

    Great to see my area of research making it to a youtube video!
    I am researching the electrical properties of this biopolymer (melanin) and it's potential utilization as an energy transducer, absorbing electromagnetic energy and converting it into non-radiative forms of energy such as heat, ion current, and electronic current.
    Thank you for the upload!

  • Reply Susan Smith May 22, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Exactly where are they obtaining this Melanin? Many of our people are missing, or found dead with their organs removed.

  • Reply Kay Gigny May 24, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Only Eumelanin can do this not pheomelanin this video is very dishonest and where are they going to get the Eumelanin from?

  • Reply XxRaliXx May 29, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2012/06/melanin-considered-bio-friendly-electronics
    https://youtu.be/ylmrkXuUqQY

  • Reply Sung Mook August 9, 2019 at 5:44 am

    Thank you for this!

  • Reply Dartanyan Gray September 3, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    We melanated people especially us wolly headed dark-skinned melanated people need to start focusing on our chakras. One of the best examples is the Tai Chi Master who can light things on fire… I've been looking at hieroglyphs and I believe the Egyptians had this power and knew more about this melanin than we do in present day, this I believe is the reason they created guns specifically for melanated people who at one time probably could bend fire, electricity, perhaps all the elements were at our disposal.

  • Reply Patrick Smith October 26, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Omg Black people are Gods???

  • Reply Ashera Star Goddess November 16, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    now we know where all the missing black people went…. to this research… all yall had to do was just mix into the race and get some Eumelanin….

  • Reply Makiba Uboke November 22, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Eumelanin and pheomelanin are chemically different. Really do the research. Eumelanin contains no sulphur. But really do the research. Google Chernobyl and black mushrooms. The melanin in those mushrooms absorbed radiation and turned it into viable energy. Notice the color of the melanin dots that was used was the same color of the dark human figure.

  • Reply DairangerSentai7 November 27, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    There's no substantial evidence for melanin harvesting, but if you have information whether, you're a harvester or abolitionist, I'd love to have information for why this even matters? Like, why kidnap and peel off someone's skin? That's pretty useless, honestly.

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