Why ALISI project
The ALISI is administered by the Institute of Scientific Instruments
of the ASCR, v.v.i. (ISI) which belongs among the leading national R&D
institutions for more than fifty years.
ISI was established in 1957 as an institution going on in the activities of Developmental workshop of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (CSAS) and providing instrumentation for the institutes of CSAS. ISI focused mainly on electron optics and microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared spectroscopy and, after the invention of lasers, also on quantum generators of light. From the very beginning, it has ranked among the forefront institutions in its field.
Since the ISI's establishment its staff has shown remarkable skills in combining a physics approach with engineering accuracy and practicality. Some of them continued in the their remarkable achievements in Developmental workshop where they constructed the first electron microscope in the former Czechoslovakia in 1951. Later they improved it to the first desktop transmission electron microscope BS 242, serially produced in Tesla Brno since 1955. This instrument won the Gold Medal at EXPO Brussels in 1956 and the series comprised over 1000 manufactured instruments in the following years.
The first Czechoslovak gas laser was put into operation already in 1963, just two years after its first worldwide introduction. Subsequent technological improvement of He-Ne lasers led to the development of interferometric measurement methods, and the LIMS system manufactured at Metra Blansko was designed for the measurement of speed, straightness, flatness, small angles with the possibility of correction to the air refractive index. Frequency-stabilized single-mode lasers formed the basis for the Czechoslovak laser sub-normal of lengths, used by the metrological institutions.
The first nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer working at a frequency of 30 MHz was constructed in 1960 for ASCR purposes, and the industrial production of spectrometers at TESLA Brno began in 1966.
All of the above-mentioned instruments were unique in Czechoslovakia at the time, and ISI had monopoly on their further development also behind the “iron curtain”. For the first three decades, the ISI’s director was Prof. Ing. Armin Delong, DrSc., the first person awarded The National Prize of the Government of the Czech Republic “Czech Head” in 2005.
In 1980’s, ISI gradually diverted from the development of complete functional models or prototypes of larger units, and focused more on instrument elements and new experimental methods. One exception was the electron lithograph, developed at the end of 1970’s and subsequently produced at Tesla Brno. The microscopic part of the instrument was of high quality; however, the connected computing machinery manufactured in the eastern – socialist – bloc degraded the entire unit to an unpromising level. This thirty-year-old lithograph is still used at ISI, but it is now equipped with a new electronic system. The collected invaluable know-how allowed the electron lithography group to cooperate very effectively with many industrial partners, and participate in the creation of unique technologies for the production of holographic and diffraction structures, used as protective elements on various products and documents. In 2008, the co-operating company Optaglio received the prestigious “Czech Head Industria” award for the achievement in this field.
In 1990’s, following the change of the political system, ISI together with the entire ASCR was significantly reduced, with only 40 % of the original 250 employees left. The institute was forced to suppress application activities and to focus mainly on basic research and to meet scientometric assessment criteria.
Within the last 20 years ISI significantly extended its international
cooperation and except its original scientific areas focused on dynamically
developing fields as acquisition and analyses of biosignals, laser applications
in microtechnologies and nanometrology, and developing new nanotechnology
procedures. ISI concentrated on creating new measurement and diagnostic methods
without renouncing to cover the entire problem, beginning with the respective
physical theory through the proposal and verification of the method, laboratory
testing, development of any new instrument elements necessary, and finishing
with the survey of possible applications and their demonstration. Mainly in the
final stage, the institute’s staff seeks and offers cooperation to partners
in selected application areas, not just in academic facilities and universities,
but also in industrial enterprises.
During its existence, ISI proved it is able to achieve high-class
results even supported by national and international funds as well as to
successfully transfer its results to practical use. Just the previous
experiences and successes are base for the ALISI project. The aim of ALISI is to
establish conditions for such research activities which produce applicable
ALISI is a new impuls towards broadening or establishment of cooperation ISI with present or new partners.