Ten leading research centers in Russia and Belarus have created a consortium for plasma- and ion-based engineering of smart materials. With the help of state-of-the-art technologies, scientists will create materials and compounds with pre-determined properties that will open new horizons for medicine, aircraft and rocket production, and other needs.
“Plasma- and ion-based technologies are the most recent breakthrough in materials science. In high-energy conditions we can create new, previously unknown and meta-stable compounds with better properties,” explains Irina Kurzina, director of the TSU Institute of Smart Materials and Technologies, professor at the Faculty of Chemistry. “Ion-based surface modification increases heat resistance and durability of composite materials and helps them adapt to the environment. It is crucially important for the aircraft industry and the rocket industry.”
Moreover, plasma- and ion-based engineering opens new possibilities in working with living systems. Ion and plasma exposure speeds up germination, increases yield, and changes storage time of seeds and plant and other parameters. It can sterilize biological objects and materials for medical purposes without changing their structure.
The team to implement breakthrough ideas into life comprises TSU, Institute of High Current Electronics (Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), Siberian Research Institute of Agriculture and Peat, Tomsk National Research Medical Center, Institute of Petroleum Chemistry (Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), Ufa State Aviation Technical University, Physical-Technical Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, and other research centers.
“Specialists from different fields will participate in large-scale interdisciplinary projects - technologists and engineers for ion and plasma installations and devices, materials scientists, chemists, biologists, medical staff, and specialists in other areas,” says Irina Kurzina.
Tomsk scientists have already established themselves in the field. For example, TSU and the Institute of High Current Electronics collaborate with the University of São Paulo (Brazil), one of the leading universities in chemistry. Together, the researchers study new ion- and plasma-modified polymers.
The consortium will aid the Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development of the Russian Federation. It will create new functional materials necessary for the next step in the country's technological development and contribute to achieving Russia's leadership in promising markets.