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Ilia Vekua Sokhumi Institute of Physics and Technology

(Short History)

Ilia Vekua Sokhumi Institute of Physics and Technology (SIPT) was founded 1950 as result of join two top-secret independent “objects”. Goals of this two “objects” 1945-49s included participate in the Soviet atomic bomb project. The leaders of this “objects” was German scientists – professor Manfred von Ardenne and Nobel laureate in Physics Gustav Ludwig Hertz. There also worked famous scientists: M. Steenbeck, P. Thiessen, H. Barwich, M. Volmer, W. SchützeN. Riehl and others.
Activities of institute included research technologies of creation nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, and also scientist researches in fields including plasma physics, solid state physics, untraditional energetic, physical electronics and other.
During many years of successfully activities, the main directions of the scientific work of the Institute are the following basic fields:

1. Plasma Physics
1.1. Quasistationary processes

In the fifties of last century, in connection with creation of the thermonuclear weapon, SIPT has begun intensive investigations of toroidal plasma. The task set was to study the interactions between the high frequency (HF) field of the Alfven frequency range with magnetized plasma. On the basis of an experimental research it has been made scientifically proved conclusions:
–   Heating and stabilization of a plasma stream in magnetized plasma with introduction of additional energy by means of a high-frequency electromagnetic field;
–   Established collective interaction of protons and heavy ions in magnetized plasma;
–   In 1961, acceleration of heavy ions in the plasma diode by means a stream electrons.

1.2. Pulsed Processes
Works in this direction have begun with studying of the phenomena occurring at explosion of electro-conductors. During the studies of gas-plasma in Θ- and Z-pinches on relatively small installations, occurrence of “space-periodic structures” was discovered and in the Z-pinch the effect of “fractional acceleration of Plasmon” was observed. This phenomenon has confirmed American scientist G. Makmilan and named effect of electro-dynamic acceleration Kvatskhava-Makmilan.
As a result of basic research and in a consequence on institute installations dense n= (2÷4)1016cm-3 high-temperature plasma (TE= 350000 K, Ti=1,6.106 K) has been received, which existence proceeded (10÷100) ns.

1.3. Open aerodynamic trap
On the basis of the device combined pinch, at SIPT has been created open aerodynamic trap GDLKP-2M with following parameters: energy – 10MJ, pinch – 50cm, the mirror ratio  £ 100, magnetic induction – 15T. The research program is intended for creation of the powerful neutron generator and studying of problems of radiating resistance of materials.

    1.4. Plasma Focus
On plasma-focus installations KPF-1 and KPF-3, created in SIPT, have been received interesting results:
–    at the energy of accumulator of 100 kJ in D-D plasma the neutron yield of N~1011 n-discharge was obtained;
–    The energy dependence of the neutron yield N~E2~J4 tends to scaling;
–    Addition of lithium vapor to D-D plasma leads to an increase of the neutron yield by a factor of 5÷6;
–    The obtained X-rays have a dose rate of about  1012 Rad/s in the energy range (20÷150) KeV with duration of 50 ns.
In 1991-1992 a new powerful experimental facility KPF-4 was built, which capacity was 0,2÷1,5 MJ.

2. Physics of High-Current Electron and lone Injectors and Accelerators
The first high-current sources at SIPT were created in 1948-1949 to solve a problem of separation of heavy nuclei isotopes under the direction of Prof.  M. von Ardenne and  Prof. M. Steenbeck.
On the basis of powerful electron injectors was created direct function and resonance high-current electron accelerators.

3. Solid-State Physics
The works in this field include many aspects of research of metals, semiconductors and dielectrics. The basic results of research is:
–   The  first  germanium  and  silicon single crystals in the USSR were obtained at SIPT;
–    The phenomenon of instant crystallization of all weight of the fused metal, it was repeated in space during the experiment, named “Melting”:

4. Thermoelectricity
In 1962 jointly with “Kurchatov Institute” and others the first in the world thermoelectric reactor-converters “Romashka”(0,5kw) was created.
At institute thermoelectric the instrument making developed in two directions:
a)    Working out and batch production of the powerful nuclear thermoelectric generator for space;
b)    Working out of the thermoelectric generator (TEG) using radio isotope fuel for civil and military use.

5. Thermo-emission
It is developed high-temperature cesium-plasma thermo-emission generator which is the basic knot for a space thermoissue reactor-converters.
It is developed two types of the electro-generating channel: single-element and multi-element. Powerful thermo-emission nuclear power installations “TOPAZ” and “Yenisei” have been accordingly developed for space.

6. Instrument Engineering
According to a wide program, at SIPT works were carried out on creation of various physical, measuring, analytical, control instruments intended for equipping in-house experimental installations and stands and delivery to many customers.
Except a mass-spectrometer, a beta-spectrometer, an oje-spectroscope and a microscope, at institute the equipment for diagnostics and measurement of parameters of hot plasma is created. The electronic control system for space reactors which and works today at university of Albuquerque at stand “TOPAZ” is created.

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