Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in Russia: Market Report

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Russia, also known as the Russian Federation, is located in northern Eurasia and borders the Arctic Ocean. It covers a total area of 17,098,242 km2 and spans 9 time zones, making it the largest country in the world. Russia has a population of 144 million as of 2017.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has introduced drastic economic changes to adapt to global standards and become more market-based. In 2011, Russia became the world's leading oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Russia is the second-largest producer of natural gas and has the world's largest natural gas reserves, second largest coal reserves and eighth-largest crude oil reserves. Sales of oil and gas were largely responsible for the country’s high levels of economic growth.

Russia’s GDP per capita was $27,834 in 2017.

Nanotechnology Organisations

Russia has many organizations and networks committed to promoting and exploring nanoscience. Brief introductions to the chief nanotechnology-related organizations in Russia are presented below:

  • RUSNANO Corporation – RUSNANO and the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs are state instruments dedicated to fostering the growth of the nanotechnology industry in Russia. RUSNANO co-invests in nanotechnology projects with substantial economic potential.  Its mission is to build a competitive nanotechnology industry based on the advances of Russian scientists and the adaptation of cutting-edge technologies from other countries.
  • Russian Society of Scanning Probe Microscopy and Nanotechnology - This society is a non-profit public organization formed on the basis of the Russian legislation. Its activities are regulated by the charter. The society was founded in 1998 for active information interchange, development of researches, and practical applications in the area of scanning probe microscopy and nanotechnology.
  • NanoBRIDGE - The consortium NanoBRIDGE focuses on science and innovative development with a mission of strengthening the already existing German-Russian collaboration. The two countries share research and development (R&D) in the fields of technology and science and their collaboration focuses on biomedical and bioanalytical nanotechnology which increases Russia’s international competitiveness.

Nanotechnology Companies

Nanotechnology, being a versatile field, finds applications in a myriad of industries. The major leading nanotechnology companies in Russia are listed below, along with a brief introduction to each of them:

  • ILIP CJSC Innovations of Leningrad Institutes and Enterprises CJSC is an Innovation Centre founded in 1989, working in the field of innovative hi-tech projects in Saint Petersburg and Northwestern Russia. The institute is involved in R&D, testing, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, promoting, and sales of new materials, technologies, devices, equipment, and services, as well as intellectual property for the market of knowledge-intensive products. Its specialties are carbon nanotechnology and new materials. ILIP has its own production facility, covering the entire fullerene production cycle, as well as the production of nanomodifiers and products made of materials with improved properties.
  • Semi Teq – SemiTEq JSC is one of the leading Russian HV UHV equipment manufacturers. The aim of the company is to provide the most efficient and comprehensive solutions related to vacuum process equipment, intended for key operations in the manufacturing of semiconductor micro and optoelectronic equipment.
  • Advanced Magnetic Technologies & Consulting Group (AMT&C)  - AMT&C is a recognized leader in the field of new magnetic materials and technologies. They specialize in the design and manufacture of scientific intensive equipment for industries based on permanent magnets. AMT&C’s R&D is based on over 30-years of practical experience in the area of magnetism and its applications. Their activity is based on aspects of applied magnetism such as magnetic refrigeration, scientific instrument-making, magnetic separation, cancer treatment and sensitive desorption of medical products, sorption of contaminations, methods of production of nanosized and nanostructured materials, etc.
  • Advanced Technologies CenterAdvanced Technologies Center’s activity lies in the development and production of scanning probe microscopes (SPM) and SPM software and scientific research in nanotechnology.
  • NT-MDT – NT-MDT enjoys a 25-year history in instrumentation, created specifically for nanotechnology research, leading the field in originality, quality, and high-tech development. This company strives for the next-generation of SPM technology: whether in pure modularity that allows a university or industrial lab to start with a cost-effective core product and build to a grand; a multi-user research center; or the ultimate amalgamation of SPM with related technologies that have resulted in ultramicrotomy for nanotomography and spectroscopy-based instruments, melding the worlds of imaging and chemical analysis. NT-MDT believes in rapid innovation while still delivering superb customer service. The company offers expert service and application development through more than 20 representative offices and distributor centers around the globe.
  • AIST-NTa young and dynamic company, AIST-NT was founded by former employees of NT-MDT. With over 20 years of experience in AFM/SPM/Raman Spectroscopy, the company’s main focus is the innovative R&D of advanced integrated scanning systems for nanotechnology. AIST-NT offers world-class progressive engineering in the field, including custom devices for OEM, outsourcing, and R&D in nanotechnology.
  • Nano Scan Technology – The Russian company "Nano Scan Technology" ltd was founded in 2007. The company specializes in the development, production, and sale of unique equipment for research and industry, focusing on SPM and research complexes. Nano Scan Technology employs experts from various fields of science and technology. The development team and service engineers have more than 15 years of experience in creating scientific equipment and offering customer support all over the world.
  • NanostartNanostart is a leading nanotechnology investment company. It invests in young, up-and-coming companies that seek to commercialize highly promising nanotechnology-based products or processes. In selecting its portfolio companies, Nanostart targets companies whose innovations aim to solve some of the most challenging problems facing mankind. The HQ is situated in Germany and a branch office is located in Moscow, Russia.
  • NeoTechProduct - The NeoTechProduct Research & Production Company is a limited liability company registered with the St. Petersburg Registration Chamber. The main goal of NeoTechProduct is to produce, on a commercial scale, nanocluster carbons, including fullerenes and fullerene black, and to develop carbon nanotechnologies. The success of the organization is based on many years of experience at the Plasma-Gas Dynamics Laboratory at the Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
  • Tydex – Tydex is a private company founded in 1994 in St. Petersburg, the optics ‘heart’ of Russia, by former scientists from the Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences. The company specializes in custom manufacturing of optical components and instruments for research in the industry, including spectroscopy, pyrometry and thermography, THz electronics, sensors and detectors, metrology, lasers, and more.
  • Concern Nanoindustry - Established in Russia in 2001, Concern Nanoindustry integrates science and production. Their activities are concentrated around developing competitive nanotechnological products and creating consumer markets. Concern strives to engage scientists, developers, interested industrial enterprises, and companies, as well as state authorities in fulfilling these goals.

Nanotechnology Education and Research

Russia is home to numerous universities offering research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. Below is a list of Russian universities along with academic courses or research opportunities they offer that relate to the various aspects of nanotechnology.

  • Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia - This 130+-year-old university specializes in the fields of biotechnology, microbiology, and nanotechnology, with various courses.
  • Moscow State University - Established in 1755, it offers a wide variety of courses related to nanoscience and nanotechnology. MSU Nanotechnology Education and Research Center (ERC) was established to consolidate efforts of MSU units aimed at R&D and true cross-disciplinary education in nanotechnology, nanomaterials, and nanosystems. Using advanced educational technology, ERC trains students according to novel programs based on lectures and practical classes from the Faculties of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Materials Science, Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, and Fundamental Medicine.
  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology - Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) was created in 1946 by leading Soviet scientists and the government as an advanced educational and research institution with a primary focus on physics. Today, it offers courses and research opportunities in nanotechnology as well.
  • National Research University of Electronic Technology - MIET R&D projects are carried out in various fields. Some of these include fundamental research in:
    • Mathematics, physics, chemistry, and electronics
    • Information technologies and telecommunications
    • Materials for micro, nano and optoelectronics
    • Micro and nanoelectronic devices
    • Nanotechnology in electronics
  • Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radio-electronics (TUSUR) - TUSUR implements a concentrated model of research in nanotechnology. The areas covered under nanotechnology are as follows:
    • Ultra-high frequency nanoelectronics
    • Optoelectronics and nanophotonics
    • Plasma emission electronics (nanomaterials and coatings)
  • Ural Federal University - The Ural Federal University is one of the top-ranked scientific centers in Russia. UrFU conducts research in biotechnologies, organic chemistry and pharmaceutics, and nanosystems and nanomaterials industry.

Nanotechnology Developments in Russia

In August 2014, two Russian cosmonauts launched a nano-satellite from the International Space Station (ISS). This was a joint project between the Peruvian Government and the Russian Federal Space Agency.

At the start of 2012, the RUSNANO state corporation confirmed that Russia would be all set to enter the world nanotechnology market in another three years. These views were backed by the Russian Financial Corporation who explained that this is possible due to the continued financial support by the Russian government aimed towards the development of nanotechnologies. As of 2019, Stat Nano has released several statistics that support the notion that the Russian nanotechnology market has been expanding over the past years and has managed to find a place among world leaders in the field of nanotechnology.

In June 2013, RUSNANO and Alcoa signed an MOU for the joint production of technologically advanced oil and gas aluminum drill pipes, finished with a life-extending antiwear coating. The coating is expected to yield an increase in pipe life of 30-40%. Just days before the agreement, RUSNANO announced new plans to attract further $5 billion in investment after initial plans to divest 10% of the company to IPO in 2015 were abandoned.

In the meantime, RUSNANO launched the RUSNANOPRIZE Award 2013, awarded for achievements in the field of nanomaterials and surface modification. The competition is an annual event and was first introduced in 2009.

Funding is also being allocated to Russian school students. The Nanotechnological Society of Russia has granted a scanning probe microscope NANOEDUCATOR II to the Lyceum Physical-Technical High School (PTHS) as an incentive for the youngsters to explore the field of nanotechnology. The school is attached to the Russian Academy of Sciences. The NANOEDUCATOR II will allow the students to see live molecular structures, which will lead to a better understanding of the subject and an increased interest in the field of nanotechnology.

Russia played host to the 20th international symposium on nanotechnology that was held in the city of Nizhny Novgorod in June 2012. The symposium was attended by more than 200 leading nanotech specialists from around the world.

Russia is focused on promoting and showcasing its nanotechnology expertise to the global community. For the period 2010-2015, the Russian government has allocated about 900 million dollars exclusively for the development of infrastructures. Head of the Education Ministry’s Scientific and Technological Department, Andrei Petrov stated that Russia is focusing on large-scale coverage of all aspects of nanotechnology, including training of specialists, equipping, infrastructure and communication instruments, promotion of security, and the metrology of the use of nanomaterials and nanotechnology.

The joint research institute in Moscow, combining nanotech research expertise from Germany and Russia, has helped further expand the development of nanotechnology in the country. Set up in 2011, the focus of the institute is optical thin-film technology, the production of optical components, and the simulation of complex optical systems.

Moreover, the Finnish-Russian Nanotechnology Innovation Alliance, a Finnish consulting company launched in 2011 by Spinverse Ltd aimed at enhancing Finnish-Russian innovation cooperation, is gaining momentum with good reception in Russia, which is heading towards a major nanotechnology breakthrough in the coming years.

Russia has a long-standing reputation in the areas of science and technology, with most R&D being carried out in state-owned branch research institutes. Industry funding levels of public research are slightly above OECD median levels. Gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) was 1.132% of GDP in 2015. The country has seen a steady increase in expenditure on R&D between 2010 and 2015.

Following the GFC in 2008, Russia has adopted a new strategy for modernization. The county has also introduced the Ministry of Economic Development's Innovation Development Strategy of the Russian Federation to 2020, which includes a broader concept of innovation in the public sector aimed at stimulating innovation, efficiency, and R&D to achieve technological modernization of the economy.

The field of nanotechnology has gained great popularity over the first decade of its introduction in Russia. However, over the past few years, the lack of new innovations and developments has slowed the county’s initial momentum. This puts a significant question mark on the involvement of the Russian Federation in the development and innovation of the nanotechnological field.

Sources and Further Reading

This article was updated on the 2nd September, 2019.

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