The concept of NIIEFA foundation refers to the period before Second World War. In the late 30’s a group of scientists under the direction of academician Kurchatov I.V. designed first in USSR cyclotron for researches in nuclear physics. At the time chief engineer Efremov D.V. and design manager Komar E.G. were the employees at “Elecrosila” plant where electromagnet, vacuum chamber, power-supply system and other equipment were designed for the cyclotron. First in USSR cyclotron was put into operation in Radium Institute in 1937.
When the work on USSR nuclear project started it was decided to establish a "Special Design Bureau" in order to solve one of the problems of the project fulfillment. So, on December 27, 1945 a "Special Design Bureau" was established by the Soviet Union governmental decree. The Bureau was intended to design electromagnetic transducers at “Elecrosila” plant. The chief engineer of “Elecrosila” plant D.V. Efremov was appointed as the Bureau director.
The Bureau small team demonstrated its high technical skills, the capability to solve the most complicated tasks in making unique electrophysical equipment. The Bureau was soon appointed as the chief designer of the equipment for fundamental research in nuclear physics, high energy physics, and controlled thermonuclear fusion.
In 1954 the Bureau became an independent organization and was relocated to St. Petersburg outskirts’ autonomous township with its own infrastructure called Metallostroy. In 1960 the Bureau passed on under the authority of USSR State Committee of Ministers for Nuclear Energy Usage and was given a new name - Scientific Research Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus (NIIEFA in Russian). And in 1961 the name of its founder and the first director Efremov D. V. was given to it.
Later on NIIEFA had developed in following directions:
1. Accelerators and assemblies for research in physics
NIIEFA has designed most of the large charged-particle accelerators installed in USSR and Eastern Europe countries. Among them have been designed synchrocyclotron of 680 MeV energy that was installed in the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna in 1949, synchrophasotron of 10 GeV energy installed in Dubna in 1974, proton synchrotron of 7 GeV energy installed in Moscow Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics in 1960, accelerator of 70 GeV energy installed in Serpukhov in 1967, isochronous cyclotron U-240 installed in Kiev Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in 1967. These accelerators used for research in nuclear physics and in high-energy particle physics as well as they used in applied science.
2. Assemblies with magnetic and inertial plasma confinement for research in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion
Since 1957 about 20 research facilities of different types have been designed in the Institute. Among them should be mentioned tokamaks "T-3","T-4", "T-10", (with a superconducting niobium winding of toroidal magnetic field), stellarator "URAGAN-2" and "T-14" (TSP) with strong magnetic field and adiabatic plasma compression, "ANGARA-5" facility.
Since 1978 and till 1985 the Institute actively participated in the design of international fusion reactor INTOR. Since 1988 NIIEFA has been involved in the international project of the experimental fusion reactor ITER as the leader and coordinator of Research and Engineering work undertaken by Russian organizations.
3. Accelerators for national economy
High voltage accelerators of different types have been designed and manufactured in NIIEFA for research and industrial use in radiation modification of polymers and in gas release purification.
In the industrial production quantities NIIEFA is making high-voltage electron accelerators for nondestructive quality control of atomic mechanical engineering products, for chemical apparatus building, shipbuilding and other industries. There have been designed customs control units, neuron generators, electrophysical devices for surface modifications, implementation of the latest technological processes.
4. Laser technique and technology
The experimental-industrial laser installations designed by NIIEFA are being used in welding, thermal strengthening, surfaces modification, separation of carbon isotopes, remote metal cutting, chemical and radioactive contamination areas, medical surgeries.
5. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) machines
Various types of induction pumps have been designed and manufactured in NIIEFA to pump liquid metal materials in nuclear energy units with fast neutron reactors. The pumps are also being used for sodium manufacturing and dispensing, other liquid metals in metallurgy, chemical industry, in energy conversion systems of space air crafts.
At the moment NIIEFA is the leading Scientific, Design and Research, Production Center of Russia in electrophysical equipment and installations for research in plasma physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, health care, radiation and energy technologies, nondestructive inspection.
More than two thousand of NIIEFA facilities were designed as inventions. Units designed in NIIEFA are being successfully operated in many scientific research and industrial organizations of Russia, CIS countries, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Egypt, India, China, Cuba, USA, Finland, France, Japan, Korea.
During the period of its existence, the following people have worked at the Institute: Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences V. A. Glukhikh and correspondent members of industry associations and international research and engineering academies, nine professors, more than a hundred of doctors and candidates of sciences. More than 50 books, monographs, inventions and patents, scientific papers and reports by NIIEFA specialists published both in Russian and English.
More than 250 specialists of NIIEFA were awarded by Russian government with orders and medals for creation and implementation of electrophysical devices. 6 specialists awarded with Lenin Prize, 46 are the laureates of USSR State Prize, 16 are the laureates of USSR Council of Ministers Prize, 5 are the laureates of Russian Federation Government State Prize.
Over the years, the institute was headed by:
from 1945 to 1956 - D. V. Efremov;
from 1956 to 1976 - E. G. Komar;
from 1974 to 2003 – V. A. Glukhikh;
from 2003 to 2016 - O. G. Filatov (since 2016 - scientific director of JSC "NIIEFA");
from 2016 to October 2020 - A.V. Vanin;
from October 2020 to January 2023 - E. A. Sakadynets;
From January 2023 the acting head of NIIEFA is S. V. Gerzog.