The development of low temperature physics was initiated in the Ukraine since the Ukrainian Physico-Technical Institute (the Ukrainian abbreviation — UFTI) was established in Kharkov in 1928. It was initiated by Academician A. F. Ioffe. A small group of researchers from the Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute (the A. F. Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute now) formed the backbone of the future Institute.
I. Obreimov was the first director of the UFTI. He organized a cryogenic laboratory in the Institute, which was first engaged only in spectroscopic studies on crystals. The field of research was however extending rapidly. In 1930 L. V. Shubnikov, a gifted physicist of wide-range physical interests, came to Kharkov after his training in Leiden. He initiated studies in the field of superconductivity, magnetism, thermodynamic properties of bodies including the properties of helium and so on. The Institute succeeded in producing liquid nitrogen in 1930, liquid hydrogen in 1931 and liquid helium in 1932. That was how the Cryogenic Laboratory, the first in the USSR and in the Ukraine and the fourth in the world was established which was headed by L. V. Shubnikov.
The scientific subjects of the laboratory were formed by its head in close cooperation with L. D. Landau who came to Kharkov in 1932 and was L. V. Shubnikov's friend.
Along with fundamental research the laboratory started applied studies on using high cooling in industry for separation of air and coke-oven gas components, for production of liquid methane and so on. In 1933 L. V. Shubnikov proposed to organize a specialized technical laboratory, which had to link science and industries. This laboratory named "Pilot Station for High Cooling" was established in 1935.
By 1937 the achievements in the above trends of low temperature physics and technology had been so appreciable that in January 1937 a special meeting of the USSR Academy of Sciences was held in Kharkov. It came into history as the First All-Union Conference on Cryogenics, accenting the value of the scientific performance of L. V. Shubnikov, his colleagues and disciples.
When in 1937 L. V. Shubnikov fell a victim to the Stalin repressive actions, the traditions of his low temperature Physical school were kept up in the Laboratory which since 1938 was headed by B. G. Lazarev. Practically in every field of low temperature physics, the name of B. G. Lazarev is connected with fundamental research highly important to progress of home science.
In 1961 E. S. Borovik organized another cryogenic laboratory in the UFTI, which carried out special studies in physics of plasma.
In 1955 the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was established in Kharkov, which was engaged in problems of the electron energy spectrum and radiospectroscopy at low temperatures.
The B. I. Verkin Institute for Low Temperature Physics and Engineering was founded in May, 1960. It was pioneered by Prof. B. I. Verkin, A. A. Galkin, B. N. Eselson, I. M. Dmitrenko. They all worked at the Ukrainian Physico-Technical Institute (UPhTI). It is in this Institute where the first in the USSR laboratory for low temperature physics was established in those years.
Under the direct guidance of B. I. Verkin, director of the Institute, cryogenic school of active physicists-experimenters was formed at the Institute. The brilliant representatives of the school include Members of the NASU I. M. Dmitrenko, V. V. Eremenko, V. G. Manzhelii, I. K. Yanson, Corresponding Members of the NASU A. I. Zvyagin, N. F. Kharchenko. Their scientific contributions formed the present-day structure of the Institute and formulated the basic trends of its scientific activity, which embraces practically all subjects of low temperature physics. The greatest attention is paid to new fields: high-Tc superconductivity, weak superconductivity, magnetooptics of antiferromagnets, physics of low-dimension systems, point contact spectroscopy, quantum phenomena in plasticity, etc.
The Institute keeps up the traditions of the Kharkov school of theoretical physics initiated by L. D. Landau and I. M. Lifshits. This is best evidenced by the publications of Corresponding Members of the NASU A. M. Kosevich, I. O. Kulik and their younger colleagues.
On its formation the Institute included a group of mathematical departments, which in addition to classical mathematics, have been developing new trends. The subdivision is represented by the known names of A. V. Pogorelov, V. A. Marchenko, I. M. Glazman, B. Ya. Levin, A. D. Myshkis, L. A. Pastur, I. V. Ostrovsky, B. Ya. Khruslov, V. G. Drinfeld and so on.
The Institute incorporates a Special R & D Bureau for applied investigations and development of pilot samples of cryogenic equipment. There is a pilot plant. It fabricate model units and small lots of cryogenic equipment.
Other institution names:
- Institute for Low Temperature Physics and Engineering, Ukraine Academy of Sciences
- Physical Engineering Institute of Low Temperatures, UkrSSR Academy of Sciences