Stages of development, fields of scientific researches, achievements
Institute of High Current Electronics (IHCE), Siberian Branch", Russian Academy of Sciences", was established in 1977. At that time the backbone of the IHCE staff was a team of Tomsk Polytechnic Institute (now Tomsk Polytechnic University), led by Professor Gennady Mesyats (now academician, vice-president of Russian Academy of Sciences). He became a founder and first IHCE director. Upon receiving a proposal and being elected to lead Ural Branch, RAS in 1986, Mesyats left for Ekaterinburg and Academician Sergey Bugaev became the director of IHCE and held this position till his premature death in April 2002.
Now Nicolai A. Ratakhin, corresponding member of RAS, is on duty of the Institute's head.
Formally, the establishment of IHCE gave the rise of Academician Mesyats scientific school and marked a new line of investigations, that is high current electronics. The latter comprised development of different methods of powerful electric pulse generation, emission of intensive electromagnetic radiation and pulsed power particle beams, and researches in the field of interaction of powerful energy flow with matter.
Presently, Institute of High Current Electronics is one of the world-recognized leaders in the field of development of high power microwave generators, high current electron and ion accelerators, high power X-ray sources. The world acceptance of IHCE researches conducted can be acknowledged by fruitful cooperation between IHCE labs and partners from USA, UK, France, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, etc.
Due to the phenomenon of explosive electron emission discovered in IHCE (G. Mesyats, S. Bugaev, D. Proskurovsky et al), the development of effective X-ray sources became possible. The phenomenon also underlies the design of a great number of high current electron and ion accelerators. Fundamental researches on explosive electron emission, investigations in the field of high current electronics, as well as the work toward the design and commercialization of a new type of X-ray sources were marked by the USSR State Prize in 1978 and 1984.
Studies on pulsed power technology led by Academician Boris Kovalchuk, awarded the USSR and Russia State Prizes (1981 and 1997) and IEEE Erwin Marx Award (1997) for outstanding achievements to pulsed power technology over an extended period of time, have gained world recognition. A radically new conception of TW electrical pulse forming, using plasma current opening switches at microsecond energy input to inductive store, was suggested and realized by Kovalchuk. The most powerful setup of such type, GIT-16 generator, was included in "Unique Research Facilities in Russia" review, published by European Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1995.
—Multi-MJ electromagnetic pulse generators created in IHCE have widespread applications in high-temperature plasma physics. So, in order to obtain stable high temperature plasma, Z-pinch studies, using GIT-generators, are successfully conducted in IHCE by Prof. Rina Baksht team.
The scientific school of high power relativistic electronics, led by Prof. Sergei Korovin, and Prof. Vladimir Koshelev, was formed in IHCE. Now, it is one of the key scientific schools in the world. Lenin Komsomol Prize was twice awarded (1980 and 1987) for the studies of the school. One of the late and most important achievements of the scientists were the world's first experiments on close to Earth-surface distribution of high power microwave nanosecond pulses that were held in cooperation with a number of Russian scientific institutes. In the course of the experiments signals reflected from objects, having effective area of 1-2 m2 and located in a 100-200 km distance from a radiator, were accurately registered. Another IHCE achievement in the field of high current relativistic electronics is a resent study on microwave generation in oversized multi-mode electrodynamic systems at low magnetic field intensity. The study offers good prospects for development of powerful coherent electromagnetic sources based on the use of high current pulsed-periodic accelerators with high pulse repetition rate in the absence of superconductive magnets. Among the achievements of the school are powerful nanosecond low-divergent wide-band electromagnetic sources designed, which used extensively in the field of super wide-band radiolocation.
Experimental and theoretical studies in the field of low-temperature plasma physics and chemistry apply to a number of IHCE actively evolving ones. Unconventional physical model of vacuum arc based on a concept of non-monotone potential distribution in a low-pressure discharge has been recently developed in IHCE (Prof. Yuri Korolev et al). From this model the consistent concept of vacuum arc functioning has been suggested.
World's first experimental studies upon impact of strong pulsed magnetic field, with a location within vacuum-arc cathode area, on ion-plasma charge composition have been recently conducted by Prof. Efim Oks team in collaboration with USA (LBL) and German (GSI) partners. The experimental results concerning emission of multiply charged ions of heavy metals from plasma are in the extreme, so prospects to create ion accelerators of a new type are obvious.
The field of low-temperature plasma chemistry has been intensively investigated in IHCE in the last few years. The phenomenon of pulsed electrical discharges that stimulate aerosol forming from non-saturated organic vapours was originally discovered and extensively investigated. The experiments have shown interaction between non-equilibrium low-temperature plasma of pulsed gas discharges and organic vapours leads to aerosol forming, even in case when partial vapour pressure is considerably lower than saturated one. From ecological viewpoint the studies have great prospects for development of safe plasma-chemical air-purification technologies, lowest-hydrocarbon conversion etc.
The cycle of studies in the field of pulsed power, high current relativistic electronics, and low-temperature plasma physics, conducted in IHCE in collaboration with Institute of Electrophysics of RAS, has been awarded the State Russia Federation Prize in Science and Technology of 1998.
The development of powerful pulsed gas lasers, pumped by high current electron beams and gas discharges (Prof. Victor Tarasenko, Prof. Yuri Bychkov et al), refers to well-established ones actively investigated in IHCE. The studies carried out by the team were awarded USSR Council of Ministers Prize in 1988 and 1990. The design of powerful wide-aperture laser with 60 cm beam diameter and 600 dm3 active volume, pumped by radialy convergent electron beams, is a major breakthrough of recent years. Investigations of radiation of the laser, using different active mediums, have shown the radiation energy on monatomic Xe transitions (1730 nm wavelength) to be 100 J with 2% efficiency, and on XeCl* transitions (308 nm wavelength) - 200 J with 4% efficiency.
Along with generation of powerful particles beams and electromagnetic radiation, the field of radiation interaction with matter is traditionally investigated in IHCE. In this field the fundamental studies of interaction between high current electron beams and solid dielectrics have been carried out in IHCE. The result of the work conducted is a new scientific line, namely, non-linear physics of dielectric under powerful radiation effects (Prof. David Vaisburd et al). A number of new physical phenomena were discovered. They can be divided into two categories: high energy electron-hole processes and catastrophic ones. Among the first processes are pico-second high energy conductivity and intra-band radio-luminescence of a dielectric. Among the second ones are brittle fracture, multi-channel electrical breakdown and critical power electron emission capable of dielectric breakdown initiation.
In recent years, a number of new analytically-based results has been obtained in the theory of ion-solid interaction by Dr. Lev G. Glazov (Laboratory of Theoretical Physics), partly in collaboration with Prof. Peter Sigmund (Odense University, Denmark). This research is centered on: the kinetic theory of collision cascades in solids; the theory of sputtering by ion bombardment; the energy-loss spectra of ions in matter, including those in the presence of charge exchange; dynamics of composition profiles, and related areas.
Experimental studies on modification of material properties by charged-particle beams and plasma flows are extensively conducted in IHCE. Features peculiar to these studies imply that results of the latter find wide practical application. Thus, works conducted in this field, as a rule, are culminated in novel prospective technologies. So, the unique ion- plasma technology for applying multi-layered coating to structural-steel surface has been developed by Prof. Peter Schanin, Dr. Nikolai Koval, and investigations of low-energy high current electron beam effects on metals have been carried out by Prof. Dmitriy Proskurovsky, Prof. Vladimir Rotshtein et al. The latter indicates that such a technology allows surface burnishing and cleaning of materials to be effected, an enhancement of durability of hard-carbide cutting tools by a factor of 3 to 4, and an increase of corrosion resistance of a number of metals by approximately 100 times to be achieved. The technology also provides the creation of high-doped surface alloys.
Another technological application recently established in the Institute is the development of relevant techniques and equipment to apply metal, nitride and oxide coatings to bulky substrates (senior researcher Ph.D. Sochugov N.S. and co-workers). One of the most important results achieved in the area is the development and design of VNUK vacuum-coating setups for production of heatsaving glass.
In present time IHCE staff comprises approximately 300 employees, including 105 researchers. Investigations are carried out by 12 scientific departments. There is IHCE Postgraduate course offering 8 scientific specialities (electrophysics, physical electronics, vacuum/plasma electronics, plasma physics and chemistry, theoretical physics, solid-state physics, optics, high-voltage engineering) and Council for maintaining candidate (i.e. PhD) and doctor (i.e. Doctor of Science, the second scientific degree in Russia) degrees in 3 fields (electrophysics, physical electronics, vacuum and plasma electronics). Annually, 2 or 3 candidate dissertations (PhD thesises) are defended in IHCE. Institute of High Current Electronics has been a basic institution of plasma physics department of physical faculty of Tomsk State University since the moment of the establishment of the former. All academic hours (including lectures and laboratory practice) of students of this department beginning with a third year of their graduation are spent in IHCE. The head of the department is IHCE leading research associate, Prof. Andrei Kozyrev.
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