Aleksei Mikhailovich Bonch-Bruevich


Aleksei Mikhailovich 

(1916 - 2006)

On May 23, 2016 will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aleksei Mikhailovich Bonch-Bruevich. Professor Bonch-Bruevich  (1916 – 2006) was the pioneer of laser physics and technology in the USSR, the father of ‘power optic’, and the founder and, for more than 30 years, the permanent chair of the conferences on light-matter interaction. As a leading specialist in the field of quantum electronics and the physical optics he was a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The scientific career of A.M. Bonch-Bruevich was started in 1932 when he joined the Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute as a laboratory assistant. In 1944 he has got his PhD for his work on the impulse radio reception. As an expert in the field of radiophysics he published  the monographs “Application of Electronic Valves in Experimental Physics” (1951) and “Radioelectronics in Experimental Physics” (1966) that have enjoyed far-reaching popularity and have been studied by a whole generation of physicists. The former has been issued in four separate editions. These monographs have been translated and published in many countries.

In 1960s A.M. Bonch-Bruevich focused his attention on quantum electronics and lasers. A.M. Bonch-Bruevich and his fellow researchers developed an original design of the neodymium-doped glass laser and handed it over to the industry in 1964, before the analogous equipment was commercialized abroad. A number of neodymium-doped glass lasers developed in A.M. Bonch-Bruevich laboratory for technological and scientific purposes were showcased and awarded at national and international exhibitions.  In 1974 A.M. Bonch-Bruevich was awarded the State Prize of the USSR for having developed the fundamental principles for the creation of lasers on neodymium-doped glass and their launch into mass production.

In 1962 A.M. Bonch-Bruevich and his associates started systematic investigation of the influence of laser irradiation on absorptive media. In subsequent years they successfully elucidated fundamental regularities underlying these processes and worked out a theory accounting for such phenomena. This work laid the foundation for developing of the physical concepts of laser technology, an industry that is flourishing at present. In 1970 the first monograph on the influence of high-power optical radiation on condensed matter, “Effect of High-Power Radiation on Metals”, was edited by A.M. Bonch-Bruevich and M.A. El'yashevich.

In 1970s A.M. Bonch-Bruevich supervised a research project during which the effects of laser radiation on transparent and low-loss media were comprehensively studied. In the process, a number of previously unknown phenomena were detected and a model was built for the optical destruction of real transparent media, based on a statistical approach to related processes. This study served as the basis for solving the important task of creating optical materials with enhanced radiation strength and led to the formation of a new branch in the physical optics known as 'power optics'. A.M. Bonch-Bruevich was the founder and the leading specialist in this new area of scientific research that gained recognition as an important new chapter of optics and quantum electronics. Beginning in 1969, he has supervised the organization committee of regular conferences on nonresonant laser-matter interactions (NLMI), which has enjoyed immense popularity and commanded great authority. Nowadays international Symposiums on fundamentals of laser assisted micro– & nanotechnologies (FLAMN) continues this tradition in even greater scale.

A.M. Bonch-Bruevich has supervised and was directly involved in pioneer research projects on the properties of atoms in intense nonmonochromatic radiation fields. These studies are of seminal importance to quantum electronics and atomic physics. Beginning in 1975, A.M. Bonch-Bruevich and his fellow researchers contributed a lot to the studies of the processes of interaction of optical radiation with colliding atoms known as 'radiation collisions'. Later, his attention was focused on the interaction of atoms with solid surfaces in the presence of intense laser fields. A new phenomenon of photoinduced detachment of metal atoms from the surface of metal nanoparticles and bulk metal surfaces (photoatom emission) was discovered.

For many years along with his scientific work that results in about 300 scientific papers, 3 books and a number of inventions, A.M. Bonch-Bruevich has been committed to teaching of students and supervising of PhD candidates. His scientific school was officially acknowledged as one of the leading scientific schools of Russian Federation.