Please join the Department of Math & Science for a seminar by Dr.Nicholas Zymbulyadis, November 16th at 4pm, an opportunity available to all students, faculty, and alumni, but one that may be especially relevant to students of conservation!

Solid-State MAS NMR Spectra of Paramagnetic Transition Metal Silicate and Aluminate Pigments: Implications for the Characterization of Cultural Heritage Objects.

Dr. Nicholas Zumbulyadis
November 16th at 4pm
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Campus
ARC building Lower Level room E2

In this talk we present preliminary results that extend the application of solid state NMR to artists’ materials containing paramagnetic transition metal ions. We have chosen two blue pigments used extensively since antiquity, Han Blue (BaCuSi4O10) and Thénard’s Blue CoAl2O4, as model materials to test our approach. The electronic structure of the metal ions is the source of the intense colors that have made these materials indispensible to the decorative arts since the dawn of history. These same ions are also the source of strong paramagnetism that complicates the NMR spectra. We have observed large 29Si hyperfine shifts and resolved Si-electron and Al-electron dipolar interactions. Analysis of electron-nuclear interactions, however, when resolved, can provide valuable structural information particularly about thermal history and early manufacturing techniques. Our results suggest possible applications to current problems in conservation science and point to the need for new solid state NMR techniques.

Dr. Nicholas Zumbulyadis received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Darmstadt (Germany) in 1971 and his PhD in physical chemistry from Columbia University in 1974.. After a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Illinois he joined the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories where he worked until his retirement in 2005. His research area has been in nuclear magnetic resonance and its applications to materials science. He is the author of over sixty scientific publications in peer-reviewed technical journals. Dr. Zumbulyadis is also a collector of 18th century European ceramics. Since his retirement he is active as an independent scholar in ceramic history. His studies of the development of ceramics from the twin perspectives of the chemistry and art historian have led to numerous lectures, a publication in the American Ceramic Circle Journal, and an art reference book, “Meissen’s Blue and White Porcelain” published in 2006. He is active in the Rochester Section of the American Chemical Society, was the Society’s 1996 Section Chair and is the organizer of the Section’s annual lecture series in “Chemistry and Art.”

For more information email Eleonora Del Federico at