Abstract

Photodegradation of melanin thin films is investigated for a UVA wavelength of 355nm and a UVC wavelength of 244nm. The technique involves interferometric exposure of melanin with two coherent beams from a low-power UV laser. The periodic photodegradation-grating pattern is monitored by diffraction of a second low-power He–Ne laser. Dependence of the photodegradation rate on UV intensity as well as the effect of ambient humidity is investigated and explained with a simple model. The technique has promise for investigating photo-induced effects in other biomolecular substrates as well.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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