Professor Vladimir Blank, the Director of FSBI TISNCM from 1995 to 2019

В.Д.Бланк Professor, Dr. Vladimir Blank is the director of FSBI “Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials”. He has been involved in scientific activity for over 30 years: from 1974 to1994, he worked in the Russian Academy of Sciences, from 1994 till now he has been working in the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation system.

Vladimir Blank proposed to establish a Scientific-Educational Center “Superhard Materials” to develop priority fields of production technologies of superhard materials and products on their base in 1995. In 1998, the center was reorganized into the Federal State Institution “Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials”.

Today, the Institute is one of the leading organizations in Russia and in the world in the field of such priority technologies as superhard and novel carbon materials and nanomaterials.

The “Elbor-Abrasive” plant was established in the town of Borovichi, in Novgorod region, in 2002-2003. It is based on the developed in the Institute technologies of diamond powder synthesis and instruments based on it. The plant produces more than 15 million carat of diamonds per year. It has gradually reduced the dependence of Russia from foreign suppliers since the USSR disintegration, and provided a diamond instrument export to Austria, Great Britain, Germany, etc.

The scientific activity of Vladimir Blank encouraged promotion of a range of new directions that provide the development of new materials and are acknowledged in the world. Experiments on the phase transitions in the conditions of plastic deformation under high pressures conducted under the direction of Vladimir Blank were awarded by the first prize in the field of physics of high pressures in the European Physical Society for young scientists.

Vladimir Blank is the author of some new ultrahard materials based on the C60 fullerene. The hardness of the produced materials is higher than the one of diamond. The mechanism responsible for such properties as carbon nanoclaster formation with the original combination of sp3 and sp2 bonds was discovered for the first time. It opens a new scientific and technological direction – synthesis of nanoclaster materials under high pressures and temperatures. The Institute was awarded by the gold and silver medals and diplomas of international exhibitions of inventions and innovations in Paris, Brussels, Nurnberg and Genève. These works enabled further technological and experimental works in the field of nanotechnologies.

Under the scientific supervision of Vladimir Blank, a NanoScan probe microscope with hard cantilever and a probe of the ultrahard fullerites and synthetic doped diamonds was developed and constructed in FSBI TISNCM. The original techniques and mathematical software allow widening the area of investigated and treated materials up to such superhard ones as diamond. It is very important for such intensively developing direction as research and treatment at nanolevel. The devices have been produced for the last five years and are used in the 12 leading scientific centers in Russia and abroad.

In 2001-2005, the Institute gained a range of world-class scientific achievements providing the Russian Federation with a leading position in the most important technological fields including the synthesis of superpure, semiconductor and multilayer diamond single crystals that have no natural analogues.

The work conducted by the Institute to develop a scientific and technological base for the high pressures resulted in the development of such devices as high-pressure (up to 15 GPa) apparatuses; ultrahigh-pressure (up to 200 GPa) apparatuses with the temperature range up to 1500 °C; devices of high gas pressures (up to 2.0 GPa and temperatures up to 1700 °C) for work in different atmospheres. They reach the level of the best world samples.

Vladimir Blank supports the potential of Russia in the field of new carbon and superhard materials. He is elected the chairman of Moscow regional carbon society; the general secretary of Russian carbon society, which comprises the leading specialists and scientists working in the key branches of the national economy. He was the co-chairman of three Russian conferences with a common thematic “Carbon: fundamental problems of science, materials sciences, technology”; the organizer of 5 international exhibitions “New carbon and superhard materials. Instruments on their base”. Now Vladimir Blank is a member of the editing committee of the “Superhard materials” journal; a member of American Physical Society, a member of Inter-agency council of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. He has published 82 scientific articles, about 70 theses of international conference reports, and 7 patents.

Vladimir Blank puts a lot of time and energy into the young scientists and specialist training. He has been the advisor of 1 doctoral and 6 Ph.D. theses, 10 diplomas for the past 10 years. Since 2003, he has been the professor of materials science of semiconductors in the Moscow Institute of Steels and Alloys. FSBI TISNCM employs 2-3 young specialists annually. Vladimir Blank provides housing to the young specialists. For the past 5 years, 13 specialists who needed better accommodation were provided with it by the federal housing program.

Vladimir Blank takes part in the social life of the town. From 1990 to 2000, he was elected a deputy of the General court of Troitsk, in the period from 1996 to 2000 he had been its chairman. He took part in development of the town’s Charter. A concept of separation of powers is proclaimed in it. In 2005, he was elected the deputy of the General court again. Now he is its chairman. He actively helps the public sector workers: teachers, doctors, police officers. He has authority with the colleagues and the scientific society. He is a veteran of work and has a medal “In the memory of Moscow’s 850 years”, he has been awarded with a lot of diplomas and commendations.

The Institute is awarded with a commendation of the Ministry of Education and Science. Vladimir Blank was awarded with a breastplate “Honorable worker of science and technology of the Russian Federation” and he was put forward for a decoration with the Medal of order “For the merits to the motherland” of the second degree.