RUSSIA AND OTHER FSU COUNTRIES

Support for generation of nanoparticles and nanostructured materials has a tradition in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) dating back to the mid-1970s; before 1990 an important part of this support was connected to defense research. The first public paper concerning the special properties of nanostructures was published in Russia in 1976. In 1979 the Council of the Academy of Sciences created a section on "Ultra-Dispersed Systems." Research strengths are in the areas of preparation processes of nanostructured materials and in several basic scientific aspects. Metallurgical research for special metals, including those with nanocrystalline structures, has received particular attention; research for nanodevices has been relatively less developed. Due to funding limitations, characterization and utilization of nanoparticles and nanostructured materials requiring costly equipment are less advanced than processing.

Russian government funds are allocated mainly for research personnel and less for infrastructure (Chem. Eng. News 1997). Funding for nanotechnology is channeled via the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research, the Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Higher Education, and other ministries with specific targets. The Ministry of Higher Education has relatively little research funding. Overall, 2.8% of the civilian budget in Russia in 1997 was planned for allocation to science. There is no centralized program on nanotechnology; however, there are components in specific institutional programs. Currently, about 20% of science research in Russia is funded via international organizations. The significant level of interest in the FSU can be identified by the relatively large participation at a series of Russian conferences on nanotechnology, the first in 1984 (First USSR Conference on Physics and Chemistry of Ultradispersed Systems), a second in 1989, and a third in 1993.

The Ministry of Science and Technology contributes to nanotechnology through several of its specific programs related to solid-state physics, surface science, fullerenes and nanostructures, and particularly "electronic and optical properties of nanostructures." This last program involves a network of scientific centers: the Ioffe Institute in St. Petersburg, Lebedev Institute in Moscow, Moscow State University, Novgograd Institute of Microstructures, Novosibirsk Institute of Semiconductor Physics, and others. This research network has an annual meeting on nanostructures, physics, and technology, and has developed interactions with the PHANTOMS network in the EC. The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation has provided research funds in the FSU for several projects related to nanotechnology, including "Highly Non-Equilibrium States and Processes in Nanomaterials" at the Ioffe Institute (1996-1998).

Russian government and international organizations are the primary research sponsors for nanotechnology in Russia. However, laboratories and companies privatized in the last few years, such as the Delta Research Institute in Moscow, are under development. With a relatively lower base in characterization and advanced computing, the research focus is on advanced processing and continuum modeling. Research strengths are in the fields of physico-chemistry, nanostructured materials, nanoparticle generation and processing methods, and applications for hard materials, purification, and the oil industry, and biologically active systems (Siegel et al. n.d.).

There are related programs in Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia, mostly under the direction of the respective academies of sciences in these countries, that are dedicated to crystalline nanostructures and advanced structural and nanoelectronic materials. Several innovative processes, such as diamond powder production by detonation synthesis at SINTA in Belarus, are not well known abroad.


Published: September 1999; WTEC Hyper-Librarian