Analytical Equipment for Nanoindustry Enters Production in Moscow

20 December 2011

ZAO Advanced Technologies Center, a RUSNANO project company, has launched its first line for production of high-precision equipment for research at micro- and nanometer scales. The project has a total budget of 387 million rubles. Joining RUSNANO as financial and technological co-investor is the research and production enterprise of the same name, Advanced Technologies Center, which has been engaged in the high-precision equipment market since 1990. Together the co-investors bring to the newly created company not only material resources and technology but also the intellectual resources that are so important to the success of any science and production undertaking.

ATC’s new manufacturing facility has been outfitted with the latest equipment, giving it the capability of making instrument components with ultrahigh precision, to within ten nanometers. With expanded capacity, the company can double production and increase sales to 70 million rubles in 2012.

The FemtoScan microscopes that will be manufactured under the project carry out more than 50 different scanning probe procedures. The instrument is suited to research in diverse fields, among them, chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, and materials science.

“Nanotechnology is the quintessence of intellectual activity. To our good fortune, we have been able to establish a fine young team, mostly graduates of Moscow State University, and initiate production a full year ahead of target. We have CNC machines, a production floor, lathes and sixth-rank milling machine operators, technology, and design engineers. We have realized the concept we developed for university-factory collaboration: an ideas born in the minds of scientists must be rapidly transformed into products,” said Advanced Technologies Center’s CEO Igor Yaminsky.

“One of RUSNANO’s basic investment principles has been that full-fledged development of a nanoindustry in our country depends on this class of Russian analytical equipment. We are already seeing considerable demand for scanning probe microscopes and atomic balances from Russian scientific institutions and research laboratories as well as foreign scientific centers,” noted RUSNANO Managing Director Georgy Kolpachev.


FemtoScan scanning probe microscope

FemtoScan scanning probe microscopeThis multifunctional scanning probe microscope may be fully controlled through the Internet or controlled locally.

The compact instrument has very powerful software support that permits remote access through the Internet. The software’s open architecture platform provides flexibility for a wide array of research experiments and surface control tests.

With the FemtoScan it is possible to see objects of submicroscopic size and obtain atomic or molecular resolution on the surface of crystals and films. The microscope can scan the same surface of a sample time and time again with various magnifications to facilitate study of the most minuscule details.

Diagram of the mechanical system of the scanning probe microscope

Diagram of the mechanical system of the scanning probe microscope

BioScan atomic balance

BioScan atomic balanceThis is a multifunctional analyzer of chemical and biological substances.

In theory, the technology of cantilevered sensors enables measurement of mass with the precision of 10-18 gram, which is comparable to the mass of one protein molecule. ATC developed the BioScan atomic balance for practical implementation of such sensitive measurement. BioScan registers ultralow amounts of substances in gases and liquids. It combines the functions of biological and chemical nanosensors. BioScan’s primary advantages over rival instruments are record-setting sensitivity to mass, minimal requirements for reagents, multifunctionality, and compactness.


Creating FemtoScan’s first scanning probe microscope

Игорь Яминский — генеральный директор  ЗАО «Центра перспективных технологий»
Igor Yaminsky, General Director,
Advanced Technologies Center

Igor V. Yaminsky, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics; professor, Moscow State University; and General Director, Advanced Technologies Center, recalls creating the first FemtoScan scanning probe microscope.

We decided to build the first commercial microscope in 1987. We brought together a temporary project group and set ourselves a goal: to transform the prototype we had into a working instrument. Within two months, we had created the fully functional scanning tunneling microscope and started production. We sold 35 microscopes between 1987 and 1993. It was a wonderful time: We didn’t know a thing about commerce or running a business. We simply made microscopes and companies bought them. We didn’t have any advertising, no one marketed. We all thought that was how things were supposed to be. Then suddenly in 1992, everything changed and there was no money for science. For the next eight years, it was as if we were suspended in a murky pause; slowly we moved forward. We had begun developing a new microscope in 1992 and we finished in 1996. We incorporated into it a principally new mechanism, electronics combined with software support. On April 29, 1996, we looked through our microscope and saw atoms. Today we are producing a principally new microscope, with very high resolution and rapid response. Development took nine months. On December 12, 2011, we produced our first ultrafast and ultraprecise scanning probe microscope, FemtoScan-2.

We name all our microscopes FemtoScan. Femto means a factor of 10-15, the limit at which modern microscopes can operate. FemtoScan can measure current to 10-15 amperes, force to the level of 10-15 newtons, or capacitance to 10-15 farads. You could call the FemtoScan a nanomicroscope because 10-15 = 10-9 x 10-6. The distinguishing features of the FemtoScan-2, which we have just achieved, are the unlimited size of its frame, —to a million readings per second—and its ultraprecise positioning, and of course much more.

High Technology and the Internet

Advanced Technologies Center created FemtoScan Online—software for processing and analysis of images from optical, electronic, and probe microscopes—and it continually improves this unique, intelligent program. Three-dimensional presentations, support for stereo regimes, user-friendly and customizable reports, publications, and video clips are only a portion of the functions provided to licensees. In addition to the functions for analysis and presentation of data, the software has a broad array of functions for remote access:

  • Full control over the instrument using the Internet
  • Access for multiple users
  • Data exchange in protected form
  • Management of a database of experiments
  • Support for video conferences and instantaneous exchange of communications
  • Integration with the web server

FemtoScan Online has gone through numerous modifications in recent years. Today it is one of the most successful programs in microscopy.

Microscope–the champion

The importance of the microscope to science and scientific advances may be glimpsed in the history of Nobel Prizes. More Nobel awards have been made for microscopes than for any other advance: three prizes for four developments to five individuals. The first was the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1925 given to Austrian-German scientist Richard Zsigmondy for discoveries made with an immersion ultramicroscope that Dr. Zsigmondy had invented. In 1953 the Nobel Prize in Physics went to the Dutch scientist Fritz Zernike “for his demonstration of the phase contrast method, especially for his invention of the phase contrast microscope." And finally, in 1986 the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three scientists—the creator of the first electronic microscope, Ernst Ruska, and inventors of the scanning tunneling microscope, Gerd Binnig and

Heinrich Rohrer. Binnig and Rohrer received the award five years after making the first STM.



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OOO Research and Production Enterprise Advanced Technologies Center was founded in 1990. From its inception, the center has specialized in developing and manufacturing highly precise measuring equipment. The company is a pioneer in atomic force microscopy in Russia. ATC was founded by Igor V. Yaminsky, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, and professor at Moscow State University.
For more information, please visit the company’s website at

ZAO Advanced Technologies Center is a project company of OOO Advanced Technologies Center and RUSNANO. Its primary goals are to expand highly effective production of measuring and analytical equipment for nanotechnology in areas of materials science, biology, and medicine and to develop innovative infrastructure for the nanoindustry. In 2012 the company has already produced and sold FemtoScan scanning probe microscopes, FemtoScan Online software, and a wide array of accessories and educational services.
More information may be found on ATC’s website,

RUSNANO was founded in March 2011 as an open joint stock company through reorganization of state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. RUSNANO’s mission is to develop the Russian nanotechnology industry through co-investment in nanotechnology projects with substantial economic potential or social benefit. The Government of the Russian Federation owns 100 percent of the shares in RUSNANO. Anatoly Chubais is CEO and chairman of the Executive Board of RUSNANO.
Work to establish nanotechnology infrastructure and training for nanotechnology specialists, formerly conducted by the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, has been entrusted to the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, a non-commercial fund also established through reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.