SOCORRO, N.M., March 22, 1999 -- New Mexico Tech chemistry professor Tanja Pietraß has been named one of this year's recipients of a monetary award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences.

Pietraß will receive a Dreyfus Foundation grant, which will be applied to the planned upgrade of the New Mexico Tech chemistry department's solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy laboratory. The instrumentation in the lab is used extensively for ongoing research projects and for undergraduate and graduate education.

Pietraß's current research interests center on the uses of solid-state NMR spectroscopy for structural investigations and the use of optically polarized xenon in the study of porous materials by NMR.

"NMR is a technique used to determine the structure of matter," she explains. "It's an analytical tool that has been used for many years in chemistry for structure characterization and is now beginning to be applied to other uses. It's fast, non-destructive, and requires only small samples to provide you with precise information about the spectrum of the materials you are analyzing."

Over the past few years, Pietraß also has had occasion to use her expertise in NMR spectroscopy techniques in collaborative research projects with scientists at Los Alamos and Sandia
national laboratories.

Because the amount awarded to upgrade the NMR spectroscopy lab is less than what is required to complete the project, Pietraß has garnered additional financial support from New Mexico Tech and is awaiting word on the status of a similar grant proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation to carry out the upgrade.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor, and businessman Camille Dreyfus as a memorial to his brother, Henry, in order to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences. The Foundation became a memorial to both men when Camille Dreyfus died in 1956.