Members of the State Duma Committee on Science and Higher Education and the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture have paid a working visit to Skoltech. The delegation featured the heads of the two respective committees — Sergey Kabyshev and Lilia Gumerova — as well as Senator Lyudmila Skakovskaya and Deputy Alexander Mazhuga.
The meeting at the Institute involved a discussion of the prospects for Russia’s technological sovereignty. Instrument engineering was emphasized as a particularly relevant area to develop a national program in. The exchange led to a decision to invite all parties concerned — representatives of ministries, universities, research centers, and companies — to join forces around the initiative.
The discussion was preceded by a welcome tour around Skoltech, which took the committee members to a number of the Institute’s research centers.
At the Energy Center, where pilot production of novel cathode materials is underway, the researchers told the legislators about the development of electrode materials and cells for metal-ion accumulators. Skoltech scientists are behind the creation of a technology for assembling sodium- and potassium-ion accumulator cells with parameters comparable to those of their lithium-ion counterparts — and a considerably lower cost.
The guests then got to know the advanced solutions developed at the Wireless Center’s 5G lab. Among the key products of that laboratory are a 5G/LTE base station built on the OpenRAN open interface architecture, enterprise-level software for 5G/LTE cellular network management (network core), and an ultra-narrowband wireless standard for IoT networks deployed in the housing and utility sector, infrastructure monitoring, and elsewhere.
The Materials Center also showcased its world-class technologies and unique solutions that further the nation’s technological sovereignty. Researchers at the Additive Manufacturing Laboratory use 3D printing to create complex parts and products. They develop additive materials and equipment, test such materials, and work on optimizing the technology. The delegates discovered the capabilities of the lab and got to see the Institute’s prototype ceramic 3D printer, along with sample products manufactured with it, including from Skoltech-made ceramic paste. The center is also developing software for 3D printing of engineering ceramics. Products of the Materials Center form the basis for import substitution in the oil and gas industry, health care, nuclear power, and space programs.
Still at Skoltech Materials, the visitors learned about the work of the Laboratory of Thermal Spray Coatings, which delivered a demonstration of its method for depositing copper coatings on containers for nuclear waste disposal. As of now, coatings formed by this method are being tested with a view to further industrial-scale application.
The next stop was the Laboratory of Composite Materials and Structures, which displayed a unique technology for manufacturing pultruded construction profiles from composite materials incorporating thermoplastic resins. The use of a thermoplastic pultrusion reinforcement liner instead of a metal one can significantly increase the heat transfer resistance of the window block without changing the thickness of the polyvinyl chloride profile.
At the Advanced Imaging Core Facility, the senators and Duma representatives examined cutting-edge electron microscopes, including the aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope Titan Themis Z. The facility delivers research projects commissioned by both internal and external contractors working in diverse areas of science.
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