Optogard Nanotech, a resident of the Skolkovo innovation ecosystem, has finished runner-up in a prestigious competition that encourages growth in the field of photonics.

Photonics is the study of how light is generated and transmitted, dealing with lasers and optics. Applications range from heavy industry use such as toughening the surfaces of various materials to the medical field.

Optogard, one of Skolkovo’s flagship projects, claimed second place in the St. Petersburg National IT Research Institute contest with its innovation that strengthens metal gas pipelines.

“For us, just participating in a contest of its standing was a question of prestige, never mind finishing runner-up,” said Optogard CEO Pavel Smirnov.


The Skolkovo Foundation was a co-organizer of the competition, which was won by a project from the host institute dealing with quantum communication. Third place went to a seismology project also from the St. Petersburg institute.

Two Skolkovo representatives were on the jury: Alexander Fertman, the science director of the Nuclear research cluster, and Nikolai Suetin of the IT cluster.

The guiding criterion was how commercially viable the projects were.

Optogard uses patented laser plasma technology to produce ultra-hard coatings and signed a major deal at this month’s Open Innovations forum with China’s Shandong Trustpipe Industries to reinforce the company’s pipelines.

Under the $41 million contract, Optogard will apply its technology to leave internal pipeline surfaces as hard as the armor that protects battlefield APCs, guarding against blockages caused by the buildup of impurities by providing an ultra-smooth and friction-free coating.