A detailed knowledge of the electronic structure and magnetic and optical properties of hemozoin, the malaria pigment, is essential for the design of effective antimalarial drugs and malarial diagnosis. By employing state-of-the-art electronic structure calculations, we have performed an in-depth investigation of the malaria pigment. Specifically, molecular bond lengths and spin states of the two FeIII heme centers and their exchange interaction, the UV/Vis absorption spectrum, and the IR vibrational spectra were calculated and compared with available experimental data. Our density functional theory (DFT)-based calculations predict a singlet ground spin state that stems from an S=5/2 spin state on each of the Fe heme centers with a very weak antiferromagnetic exchange interaction between them. Our theoretical UV/Vis and IR spectra provide explanations for various spectroscopic studies of hemozoin and β-hematin (a synthetic analogue of hemozoin). A good comparison of calculated and measured properties demonstrates the convincing unveiling of the electronic structure of the malaria pigment. Based on the predicted vibrational spectra, we propose a unique spectral band from the nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy (NRVS) results that could be used as a key fingerprint for malarial detection.
We are working at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology Mohali, one of the leading research institutes in India in the field of Nano Science. INST is located in Chandigarh, one of the major cities of India.