Physicotechnical Institute

Physicotechnical Institute


(full name, A. F. Ioffe Physicotechnical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR), a scientific research institution at which research is conducted in physics and its technical applications. Located in Leningrad, the institute was created in 1921 on the basis of the physicotechnical division of the Roentgenologic and Radiological Institute (founded 1918). The academician A. F. Ioffe was the institute’s founder and first director. The academician B. P. Konstantinov became director in 1957, and the academician V. M. Tuchkevich in 1967.

From the first years of its existence, the A. F. Ioffe Physicotechnical Institute was the leading center of Soviet Physics, where a number of famous scientists began their careers and spent many years conducting research. They include the academicians of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, A. P. Aleksandrov, L. A. Artsimovich, A. I. Alikhanov, B. M. Vul, I. K. Kikoin, Iu. B. Kobzarev, V. N. Kondrat’ev, B. P. Konstantinov, G. V. Kurdiumov, I. V. Kurchatov, P. I. Lukirskii, N. N. Semenov, D. V. Skobel’tsyn, G. N. Flerov, Iu. B. Khariton, and A. A. Chernyshev and the corresponding members A. I. Alikhan’ian, A. F. Val’ter, P. P. Kobeko, D. A. Rozhanskii, A. V. Stepanov, Ia. I. Frenkel’, and A. I. Shal’nikov. Among those presently (1976) working at the institute are the academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR S. N. Zhurkov and the corresponding members Zh. I. Alferov, G. A. Grinberg, B. P. Zakharchenia, and G. A. Smolenskii.

The Physicotechnical Institute traditionally has conducted research in solid-state physics, semiconductor physics, and nuclear physics. Its scientists determined the influence of crystal defects on the strength properties of materials and developed the concept of the microscopic model of real crystals and of the condensed state in general. In the early 1930’s the institute turned to the study of the properties of semiconductors and began producing semiconductor materials and working out the technical applications of such materials. At the same time, the theory of rectification was constructed and copper-oxide and selenium rectifiers were studied. The first junction transistors in the USSR were produced in the 1940’s. The thyristors developed at the institute served as the basis for the creation of a new branch of industry—power semiconductor electronics. The institute’s investigation of heterojunctions led to the construction of heterolasers and other quantum electronic devices based on them. Work in nuclear physics was begun in 1932; the electrocapillary theory of fission of heavy nuclei was created, and the phenomena of nuclear isomerism of radioactive elements and the spontaneous decay of uranium nuclei were discovered.

In addition to its traditional areas of research, the Physicotechnical Institute is successfully developing research in many other areas, including plasma physics (plasma diagnostics, methods of heating and confining plasma), physical gas dynamics, astrophysics (solar physics, X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, cosmic-ray physics), holography, optoelectronics, theoretical and mathematical physics, computer technology, emission electronics, and mass spectroscopy.

More than ten scientific research institutes have been created on the basis of the A. F. Ioffe Physicotechnical Institute, including the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the Physicotechnical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (Kharkov), the Leningrad Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and the Institute of the Physics of Metals of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

The institute was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967.


Fiziko-tekhnicheskii institut. Leningrad, 1968.
Frenkel’, V. Ia. “Piat’desiat let Fiziko-teknicheskomu in-tu A. F. Ioffe AN SSSR.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1968, vol. 96, issue 3.


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