Libmonster ID: RU-17169
Author(s) of the publication: Marina KHALIZEVA

by Marina KHALIZEVA, journalist

The Rusnanotech International Nanotechnology Forum opened in November 2010 in Moscow at the Expocenter Central Exhibition Complex gathered over 3,000 Russian and foreign scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs and representatives of business circles from all over the world. In three years this forum has become a recognized discussion venue to consider innovative problems of current interest. 35 regions of Russia and 12 other countries (Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Iran, Israel, Holland, USA, Finland, France, Czechia, Switzerland and Japan) exhibited unique products manufactured on the basis of nanotechnologies and sample equipment designed for nanoindustry.

"Today we are absolutely sure that it was a right decision to focus on nanotechnologies,--RF Presi-A dent Dmitry Medvedev said when addressing the forum participants.--In the course of two years the Rusnano State Corporation approved 94 projects and more than 300 applications are being analyzed now. This proves that our country can be proud of its scientific teams engaged in promising works in nanotechnology."

The inflow of investments is another acknowledgment of achieved progress. In 2009, the volume of investments reached 17 bln rubles: Russia ranked forth after the USA, Japan and Germany. Foreign scientists and businessmen are interested in national innovations and their interest is growing. Compared with 2009, this year the number of Rusnanotech participants increased by almost 30 percent.

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Experienced specialists pointed out they have never noticed such a high level of involvement for all three days of the forum, although the agenda was very rich. There was held 29 meetings of scientific and technological sections dedicated to nanotechnology development trends and nanomaterial design. National scientists, their foreign colleagues, employees of leading international companies, universities and scientific centers delivered more than 260 reports and presentations.

Regional leaders--heads of the RF subjects--gathered together at the headline event of the second day: they all attended a meeting of the section "Innovative Potential of Regions: New Business Opportunities". "If we really want to build an innovative economy in Russia,--Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano Director General, said at the opening ceremony,--we must focus on the regions. We already have an "advance guard": the Republic of Tatarstan, Perm Territory, Novosibirsk and Stavropol regions have developed their own strategy based on manufacture and export of hitech products. Heads of these and other RF subjects told the participants about competitive advantages of their regions.

The discussion "Innovations: Incentives and Obstacles" arose genuine interest of the public. It was dedicated to present-day problems of modernization--the role of the state in the process of innovative development, forms and methods of promotion of hitech companies, attraction of private companies, including foreign ones, investments to the technological segment of national economy. Among speakers were Sergei Guriev, rector of the Russian School of Economics, Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Renova Group of Companies and Skolkovo project coordinator, and their American colleagues Rafael Raif, rector of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Drew Guff, managing director and founder of the Siguier, Guff & Co. Investment Venture Fund, etc.


An open lecture delivered by Konstantin Novoselov, the Nobel Prizewinner in physics of 2010 and the youngest holder of this prestigious award for the last 70 years who got it together with his colleague and teacher Andrei Geim, was a remarkable event of the forum. The laureates have resembling biographies. They both were born in the remote regions of Russia (the former is a native of Nizhni Tagil, the latter was born in Sochi), studied at Soviet secondary schools, graduated from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, worked in Chernogolovka (Moscow Region) at the RAS Institute for the Problems of Technology of Microelectronics, in the 1990s both left for the West and now represent the Manchester University (England).

According to Novoselov, this forum enables Russian students to get acquainted with the recent achievements in nanotechnologies and obtain information "at first hand". "On the other hand,--the laureate noticed,--it is a place where designers and potential investors can meet. Of course, a great number of industrial conferences are held where scientists and businessmen work in close cooperation. But I hardly can remember a symposium with such a wide range of perspective offers".

Novoselov's report Graphene: Theory and Practical Application is directly related to nanotechnologies. First studies of this substance--new two-dimensional form of

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carbon differing fundamentally from the well-known diamond, graphite, carbine and fullerene--were initiated in Chernogolovka. That time scientists tried to construct a graphite transistor using different methods, including polishing. But all attempts were in vain. It was a lucky chance that helped. One day Geim and Novoselov saw graphite crystals being prepared for studies in the scanning tunnel microscope at the neighboring laboratory: scientists smoothed out the surface, stuck on scotch tape, then removed it with the top layer of the material and threw it to the dust bin. "We simply had to lift the scotch tape,--Novoselov said,-manually remove "scales", transfer them to an appropriate support and fix contacts. We were even called "garbage scientists" for these experiments. Nevertheless, even the first samples of their transistor began to work and everyone realized: this trend is worth developing.

The scientists continued their breakthrough experiments at the Manchester University. Using the ordinary optic microscope, they managed to see a onelayer carbonatom thick segment on a thin graphite platelonged for graphene. Further research revealed unique properties of this material: notwithstanding such dimensions, it is firmer than diamond and extremely flexible (it can be stretched by 20 percent), it is water- and gasproof, conducts heat and electrical current better than copper. Philipp Walles, a Canadian physicist, commenced studies of the similar carbon system as early as in 1947, but the term "graphene" appeared only recently--in 1987. Geim and Novoselov were the first to experimentally get and identify this material (2004). Then started its practical application. The scientists believed that this representative of the carbon family could replace silicon--the prime raw material for microchips. Once it is produced for industrial purposes, graphene can make a revolution in electronics: graphene-based devices will be significantly lighter, thinner and much more efficient. Besides, it could be of use in optics, production of sensor displays and photocells of solar batteries and in medicine to develop antitumor drugs.

Geim and Novoselov's first experiments were carried out with 1 µm graphene. A unique graphene growth method was invented in 2007. In 2009, one of the largest South Korean companies Samsung Electronics manufactured graphene plates of 1 m2, i.e. now we are at the stage of its industrial production. In 2010, graphene transistors characterized by higher frequency were designed. Special covers for TV and computer displays are coming soon.

However, Russian scientists have their own point of view on the future development of graphene technologies. For a number of years two-dimensional carbon has been studied at the Institute of Semiconductor Physics, RAS Siberian Branch, at the laboratory headed by Viktor Printz, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.). "No doubt, graphene is fantastic for optics and mechanics,--the researcher said in his interview to the information portal.--As for electronics, it cannot compete with silicon at all... This material appeared only 5 years ago, and we cannot expect its success everywhere. Therefore, I think, in the near future all framing will be made of silicon, and only some inner parts will be made of graphene, if me have luck." Printz also named economic reasons that impede this variety of carbon to take a leading position in micro-

стр. 46

electronics: "There have been built huge plants costing 5 bln USD each to produce silicon and make integral charts from it. To begin industrial production of graphene, new plants must be constructed (more expensive), special technologies optimized and tested. But if we focus on other spheres, especially innovative areas, where graphene is indispensable, we'll see practical results in 2 or 3 years".


Within the framework of the Rusnanotech International Forum, there was held an exhibition of innovative ideas, technologies and projects (over 3,300 visitors), where, in fact, mutually-beneficial integration processes involving science, business and technology were tuned. In particular, 340 companies (280 national and 60 foreign enterprises) presented samples of nano-technological products and recent scientific achievements in the given branch of knowledge that could be used in real life. Many projects were presented in detail, at different phases of the innovative cycle, starting from development of the idea and finishing with the embodiment of knowledge and experience, which made it possible to establish direct contacts between consumers and manufacturers, get orders and resources for innovative designs, attract additional funds.

As the exhibition has shown, Siberia has become one of the leading nanotechnology regions in our country. The RAS Siberian Branch* presented projects of 10 scientific groups from Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Irkutsk. For example, the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics named after S. Khristianovich (Novosibirsk) developed a technology enabling to improve mechanical properties of materials (plasticity, strength, corrosion resistance and durability) using fine modifiers (special additives containing refractory compounds), little by little introduced in the metal melt. In cooperation with the neighbors from the Institute of Nuclear Physics named after G. Budker**, the same group offered another technology: getting of high quality silicon dioxide powders, widely used in the production of rubber, lubricant viscosifiers, glues, paints, adsorbents used in chromatographic analysis to separate and analyze mixtures.

Until recently, we had no similar national compositions in the technological market--we used to buy them in foreign companies, namely, German Degussa, the world leader and owner of the Aerosil brand. But it should be noted that German technologies use chemical methods of synthesis based on combustion reactions, the products of which contain ecologically harmful substances--hydrogen chloride and even hydrochloric acid, in case of condensed water. Siberian technology is based on the evaporation of cheap quartz sand under electron beams originated in the accelerator (such powerful and efficient heat sources are produced at the Institute of Nuclear Physics named after G. Budker). After evaporation gas cools down moving through a pipeline. Nanoparticles located inside form agglomerates (Latin agglomera--join, accumulate) of nanodis-persed powder caught by a special device. Moderate beam power (1.4 MeV) prevents forming dangerous radioactive isotopes, and the final product--Tarkosil (called after the place of extraction of raw materials, namely, high purity quartz sands extracted near the town of Tarko-Sale, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District)--is non-toxic. By the way, this very technology could be applied to manufacture nanopowders of metals (tantalum, aluminum, nickel and silver), magnesium, aluminum and molybdenum oxides, aluminum and titanium nitrites and other compounds.

Specialists of the Institute of Semiconductor Physics named after A. Rzhanov (Novosibirsk) presented the Epicenter, a stand simulator of space vacuum for molecular beam epitaxy--a process applied to construct multilayer semiconductor nanostructures with the given thickness and certain chemical composition. This device stands out for its small size, low consumption of liquid nitrogen and high purity initial materials, high precision programmed maintenance of temperature regimes for supports, as well as strict control of the structure and thickness of synthesized layers. This means it can also be used in flight conditions of orbital stations.

Another noteworthy innovation offered by the said institute is a high-capacity multifunctional system pro-

See: N. Dobretsov, "First Regional Branch", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2007.--Ed.

** See: A. Skrinsky, "Cognition of Matter", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2007.--Ed.

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duction technology based on new materials, so called "silicon-on-insulator" (SOI), and applied in modern electrical engineering (computers, TVs, etc.). Unlike widely used stock, the support is separated from a mono-crystalline thin working film by a dielectric layer of amorphous silica. SOI structures significantly enhance technical characteristics of microelectronic devices (rapid performance, reliability) and reduce power consumption; besides, they have compact geometrical dimensions. It is not by chance that they are considered an essential material of the computer element base of the 21st century. In 2002, the scientists handed over the patented engineering design to the Research Institute of Microelectronics and Micron plant (Zelenograd) to organize industrial production of plates up to 0.25 mln items a year.

Institute of Physics of Strength and Material Science (Tomsk) presented unique AquaVallis filters to purify water from microbiological impurities. The operating principle is based on a new electropositive material manufactured of nanofibers, removing 100 percent of viruses, bacteria and parasites, including those resistant to chlorine and high temperatures. It can be used in almost all standard water purifying cartridges and individual, domestic purifiers and industrial water treatment plants, in macromolecule separation processes, immobilization of enzymes and cell cultures, for water sterilization and filtration, for injections and other solutions.

Among representatives of the national scientific community of the RAS SB we can name two more Novosibirsk institutes-Institute of Catalysis named after G. Boreskov (exhibited carbon materials and polymer hydrogels), Institute of ChemicalпїЅ Kinetics and Combustion (offered the technology to synthesize titanium oxide nanocrystalline films with flame), as well as Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry named after A. Favorsky (presented technological diagrams for manufacture of highly efficient hypolipidemic medicines on the basis of Siberian larch) and Tomsk Institute of Petroleum Chemistry (shared innovative methods allowing to enhance oil production and hydrocarbon processing).

Needless to say that the subtitle "Nanotechnologies Will Develop in Siberia" is nothing more than a metaphor. The exhibition demonstrated that other Russian regions--Belgorod, Vladimir, Volgograd, Voronezh, Kaluga, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Nizhni Novgorod, Omsk, Orenburg, Penza, Ulyanovsk regions, as well as Udmurtia, Chuvashia, Mordovia, Tatarstan, Yakutia, Moscow and St. Petersburg--are also involved in the development of nanotechnologies. More about this in the next chapter.


Orenburg State University presented its nanostructured bioplastic material Giamatrix undergoing expert examination at Rusnano. Academician and Nobel Prizewinner Zhores Alferov, chairman of the Rusnano Scientific Board, called it the best project in the field of nanoindustry.

The gist of it is the following: bioplastic material (flexible plate on the basis of hyaluronic acid biopolimer) spread on burns or wounds covers an injured area, in other words sticks to it, and helps to heal it while dissolving. It dissolves in the wound, therefore patients do not suffer from painful bandaging procedures. No other bioskin can show such properties.

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According to Ramil Rakhmatullin, head of the Scientific-Production Laboratory of Cell Technologies of Orenburg State University, it took more than 10 years to create Giamatrix (in 1999, he proposed to use bioplastic matrix to heal a tympanic membrane in his candidate's thesis). In 2008, the material passed clinical trials at specialized medical centers of Orenburg. More than 50 patients with burns of the 2nd and the 3rd degree were attracted to the tests. The results exceeded expectations. For example, 12-year-old Dima Meshkov suffering from trophic ulcer for years recovered in 19 days. Another patient, Salima who tried to treat the burnt hand with ointments and alternative drugs recovered in 10 days.

The main advantages of Giamatrix are its low price (the European analogue Gvaf is much more expensive) and high efficacy based on nanotechnologies.

Orenburg scientists created the biomaterial by way of photochemical nanostructuring that makes it possible to form the frame system of hyaluronic acid macro-molecules. According to specialists, such structure gives the artificial skin original bioengineering properties (adhesion, drainage properties, transparency) and enhances compatibility characteristics due to natural metabolism of the material. Nanotechnologies exclude chemical impurities in the technological process and the final product, which also increases its clinical efficiency. The inventors are absolutely sure: all these properties will soon make Giamatrix a leading medical product to heal burns and deep wounds; in addition, it could be of use in oncology, gynecology and even cosmetology.

The demand for this drug is immense. According to the RF Ministry of Public Health and Social Development, about 700,000 people suffer from burns every year. But only 23 percent are treated at specialized centers (there are only 82 such centers in Russia), others are hospitalized to surgical and traumatological departments. Treatment of burns is rather expensive and is accompanied by a complex medical rehabilitation. For example, the USA allocate 180-200 thous. USD to treat a patient with 40 percent damage of the body surface, Israel spends about 90-100 thous. USD. That is why the artificial skin that helps patients to recover (annual

Science in Russia, No. 2, 2011

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turnover amounts to more than 15 bln USD) is beneficial both for patients and the state.


In 2009, the Rosnano State Corporation established the Russian Youth Award in the sphere of nanoindustry, granted to innovators under 35. In 2010, young national and foreign specialists filed about 500 scientific works in eight special purpose spheres (by the way, more than half of all projects were developed by applicants from Russian regions). This time the award went to Marina Galkina, senior research assistant of the Belgorod State University. She designed and introduced into practice the method of formation of nanodimensional alloyed carbon coating on cantilevers (i.e. stands to fix needles of the atomicforce microscope). Galkina and her colleagues proposed to strengthen the working part of this indispensable device of the scanning probe microscopy by the vacuum arc method. It is more efficient than a stationary supersolid system production technology: it essentially increases energy of carbon ions, which leads to the formation of quite stable bonds, that make the surface microsolid, and controls its level to prevent overheating of the surface. The properties of materials produced in such a way are very close to the diamond (strength) and graphite (sliding).

Scientists from Belgorod studied strengthening layer application regimes on cantilevers DCP-11 and DCP-20 of scanning microscopes of NT-MDT Company (Zelenograd)*, as well as carried out tests and proved significant improvement of their operational properties. In 2007-2009 the sales volume of this product made up 4.7 mln RUR.

It is worth saying that the impulse vacuum arc method can also be applied in infrared optics and medicine (to manufacture implants).


The Rosnano stand, perhaps, the largest exposition of the forum, presented innovative works designed by enterprises and companies under financial support of the state corporation. Plasma filters and nanovaccines, rubber powder samples, carbon fabric, roll membranes, various LED lamps, photodetector and vertical laser matrixes, detectors to identify explosives and drugs--these and other products absolutely matched the concept formulated by Anatoly Chubais: "Our logic is simple: the product is in tune with the best world samples or there is no sense to make it. We are striving to get A-class nanoindustry".

Nanofiber optical current and voltage sensor production project with the budget of 1.1 bln RUR presented at the forum was among the top priorities. At the initial

See: V. Bykov, "A Microscope Scans Atoms", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2000; V. Bykov, "Advance Deep Into Matter", Ibid., No. 6, 2008; V. Bykov. "Is There Any Color in Nanoworld?", Ibid., No. 5, 2009.--Ed.

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stage, Rusnano will invest 392 mln RUR, the anchor investor will be a private investment fund ONEXIM Group (Moscow) established in 2007 and business partner of the state corporation.

National power engineering, transport industry, metallurgy, extractive and other industries have need of modern power consumption calculation and power supply network protection systems. At the moment, 25 percent of existing power lines (110-750 kV) must be immediately replaced, more than 50 percent are worn out. National companies have been using expensive imported equipment, but thanks to the above-mentioned project it will be gradually replaced with national products--nanofiber optical current and voltage sensors manufactured at CJSC "Fiber-Optic Equipment-Capital" (FOE-Capital, Moscow). Specialists of this enterprise who proposed to use nanodimensional elements (50-80 nm) in the fiber structure managed to notably improve technical and consumer characteristics of these devices. Such equipment is more reliable and precise than what is used nowadays.

Sample products designed by CJSC FOE-Capital successfully passed tests held at the Leningrad Nuclear Power Station, Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant of the RUSAL Company, Pavlodar Electrolysis Plant (Kazakhstan) and All-Russia Research Institute of Metrological Service (Moscow). Rusnano and its partners are planning to manufacture sensors in the capital, by 2015 the sales volume is forecasted at the level of 2 bln RUR. "This is a new generation of measuring systems that will replace existing transformers and form intellectual controlled power supply networks", Sergei Dmitriev, head of FOE-Capital, said.

As for the practical results of the forum, the Rusnano State Corporation and Termiona Company (Zelenograd) signed an investment contract to produce thermoelectric devices for cooling systems of solid body lasers, telecommunication cases, commercial refrigerating equipment and power generators. Total budget of this project is 1,702 mln RUR, 600 mln will be invested by Rusnano.

Termiona Company has invented and developed the technology of production of nanomodified dielectric coatings for heating lines. Composite-based devices have no defects typical for ceramic units; they are highly efficient and competitive in the market. For example, a unique direct forced cooling system of the solid body laser reduces overheating of active elements and increases by 50 percent power of semiconductor devices. Pilot thermoelectric devices have already been manufactured in Zelenograd. According to the plan, in 2014 the plant will reach its designed output and will produce up to 1 mln conventional modules a year.


In 2010, the International Award in the sphere of nanotechnologies Rusnanophze (3 mln RUR) was awarded to Lev Feigin, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), chief research assistant of the RAS Institute of Crystallography named after A. Shubnikov, and to Dmitry Svergun, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), head of the group of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany), for creation of the X-ray low-angle scattering method, one of the most efficient means to study supersmall substances. This method is applied for an analysis of nanoobjects in different forms, both liquids and solid bodies; it "gives" information on dimensions and structure of substances with an accuracy to lnm.

In 1959, when Lev Feigin began work at the institute, already Cand. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), he for the first time applied the low-angle scattering method (discovered in 1938 by French crystallographer Andre Guinier) to biological molecules, and then improved this technology in all directions--from hardware to algorithms, which help process the results of experiments. The first important data were received by Feigin and his colleagues in the 1970s-1980s on the structure of biopolymers--proteins and nucleic acids. But the most impressive advance was made in the studies of bacterial viruses, so called bacteriophages. They determined their dimensions and form--a head and a process. In 1975, the scientist defended his thesis for degree of doctor, and soon after his group was restructured into a laboratory. In 1979, he headed a graduation research work of Dmitry Svergun, a student of the Physical Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Six months later, after completion of the research program, Feigin charged him to solve a "hopeless" problem--to determine the form of a virus, its inner structure and a mechanism of penetration into bacteria by means of low-angle scattering. Improving the algorithm of analysis, Svergun found answers in a year. But the results were verified only 25 years later by the electronic microphotography method.

At present, the research method developed by Feigin and Svergun (who lives in Germany now) is actively used by tens of thousands of scientists and engineers all over the world to solve fundamental and applied tasks of molecular biology, pharmaceutics, food industry and materials science.

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The symbol of the award--a crystal ball--was also awarded to Hecus X-ray Systems GmbH (Austria) for "a series of pioneer designs of the X-ray low-angle scattering equipment" developed on the basis of the discovery made by two Russian physicists.


No doubt, the forum confirmed the strategic course of our country towards modernization and introduction of high technologies. "A couple of years ago, Russia did not manufacture any nanotechnological products",--RF Vice-Premier Sergei Ivanov said.--Today, 138 enterprises from 35 Russian regions and 63 cities are exhibiting their commercial products". National researchers and designers have demonstrated a high level of integration into the global nanotechnological environment.

However, some competent specialists noted an alarming tendency behind the Moscow front façade. "In three years the nanoforum turned into a really good meeting venue for representatives of science, business and authorities,--Academician Alexander Aseev, RAS Vice-President, chairman of the Siberian Branch, stated.--We have achieved impressive results, and the exhibition is an absolute evidence of this fact... At the same time, there is a certain gap between the scale of works and the number of breakthrough results in the field of nanotechnologies." According to him, the Rusnano State Corporation prefers "simple decisions", i.e. nanopowders, nanocoatings and devices based on the well-known principles-printers and tomographic scanners. These developments are highly profitable but are not perspective. This means: we must develop fundamental sciences, a basis of the nanoworld". This is what Zhores Alferov, RAS Vice-President, said and then added without regret: "I'm happy to know that we are investing 300 bln RUR in the development of nanotechnologies. But the fundamental research program of the Russian Academy of Sciences, adopted 3 years ago, received only 180 mln RUR this year."

Illustrations from the Rusnano State Corporation web-site and other Internet sources



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