Principal scientific research directions of the Institute were defined by the decision of USSR Academy of Sciences in 1968. Their content evolved over time, and nowadays they can be stated as follows:
- Spectroscopy of atoms, ions, molecules, clusters, bulk and surface states of condensed media; development of new spectroscopy methods, nearfield optics, nanooptics.
- Laser spectroscopy with an emphasis on specific influence of light on substance and its applications: isotope separation, atom cooling, modification of molecule surrounding in matrices, and other applications in photochemistry, photobiology, analytical chemistry, etc.
- Analytical spectroscopy and its applications to technology control, environmental monitoring, life-support systems, studies of natural and technological disasters, etc.
- Development and design of unique spectral instrumentation, analytical devices, lasers, registration systems, measurement methods for principal directions of fundamental research work and its applications.
- Top qualification researchers training.
Spectroscopy is a dynamically developing science, in which new research areas are constantly emerging. Most of them are presented at the Institute:
- optical near-field (evanescent spectroscopy);
- femtosecond spectroscopy;
- cavity quantum electrodynamics;
- new radiation sources with noise level below the quantum limit;
- single-atom and single-molecule spectroscopy;
- atom optics (laser control of atomic motion);
- near-field and far-field optical nanodiagnostics of advanced materials and nanostructures.
The Institute develops also new technologies:
- laser isotope separation;
- ultrasensitive methods of ultra-pure materials composition and environmental pollution control;
- super-dense plasma creation;
- deep cooling of atoms by laser radiation;
- new radiation sources;
- new communication systems;
- optical sensors and transmitters.
Research units of Institute of Spectroscopy are:
- Department of Atomic Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. A.N. Ryabtsev). As part of the department: Laboratory of Atomic Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. A.N. Ryabtsev); Section of High-Temperature Plasma Spectroscopy (Head Dr. P.S. Antsiferov); Section of plasma radiation sources (Head V.M. Krivtsun);
- Department of Molecular Spectroscopy (Head. Prof. Dr. A.V.Naumov). As part of the department: Laboratory of Analytical Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. M.A.Bolshov); Laboratory of Electronic Spectra of Molecules (Head Prof. Dr. Yu.G. Vayner);
- Department of Solid State Spectroscopy (Head RAS Corr. Member Prof. Dr. E.A. Vinogradov). As part of the department: Laboratory of Condensed Matter Spectroscopy (Head Dr. N.N. Novikova); Laboratory of Fourier Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. M.N. Popova);
- Department of Laser Spectroscopy (Head. Prof. Dr. E.A.Ryabov). As part of the department: Laboratory of Laser Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. V.I.Balykin); Laboratory of Spectroscopy of Excited States of Molecules (Head Prof. Dr. E.A.Ryabov); Laboratory of Ultrafast Processes Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. S.V. Chekalin);
- Department of Laser-Spectral Instrumentation (Head Prof. Dr. O.N. Kompanets). As part of the department: Laboratory of Laser-Spectral Instrument (Head Prof. Dr. O.N. Kompanets); Section of Multichannel Recording Systems (Head Dr. E.G. Silkis);
- Theoretical Division (Head Prof. Dr. A.M. Kamchatnov). As part of the department: Section of Nonlinear Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. A.M. Kamchatnov); Section of Phase Transitions Spectroscopy (Head Prof. Dr. A.G. Malshukov);
- Laboratory of Nanostructures Spectroscopy (Head Dr. Yu.E. Lozovik);
All of the major issues of scientific and organizational activities of the Institute are solved by the Academic Council consisting of the leading researchers of the Institute: E.A. Vinogradov (chairman), O.N. Kompanets (vice-chairman), E.B. Perminov (Secretary) , S.A. Aseyev, P.S. Antsiferov, V.I. Balykin, M.A. Bolshov, L.A. Bureeva, Yu.G. Vainer, A.M. Kamchatnov, K.N. Koshelev, V.M. Krivtsun, Yu.E. Lozovik, B.N. Mavrin, A.A. Makarov, G.N. Makarov, A.G. Malshukov, A.V. Naumov, N.N. Novikova, M.N. Popova, E.A. Ryabov, A.N. Ryabtsev, S.V. Chekalin, V.A. Yakovlev, E.V. Gorskiy (trade union chairman), D.S. Pytalev (young scientists society chairman).
The Institute has a unique set of equipment that enables problem-oriented optical research simultaneously over a wide spectral range and ultra-high spectral, temporal and spatial resolution. It allows for a complementary study of materials and processes on a common scientific platform to provide accurate detailed information on the structure, optical and magnetic properties, spectroscopic, relaxation and other characteristics of various materials and structures preserving their functional properties and activity.
The unique devices and equipment of the Institute are part of scientific equipment of Center of Joint Research (CJR) "Optico-spectral measurements". In recent years, CJR provided services to more than 40 research organizations. The geography of requests is quite broad: Kirensky Institute of Physics, RAS (Krasnoyarsk); Institute of Laser Physics, Siberian Branch of RAS (Novosibirsk); Institute of Atmospheric Optics, Siberian Branch of RAS (Tomsk); St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics; Kazan State University and institutes of Kazan Scientific Center, RAS; Institute of Metal Physics, Ural Branch of RAS (Ekaterinburg); Institute of Microstructure Physics (Nizhny Novgorod); Belarusian State Technological University (Bryansk); Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, Moscow region); Institute of Solid State Physics, RAS (Chernogolovka, Moscow Region); Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials, Institute for High Pressure Physics, RAS (Troitsk, Moscow); Prokhorov General Physics Institute, RAS, Fiber Optics Research Center, RAS, Lebedev Physical Institute, RAS, Institute of Radio-engineering and Electronics, RAS, Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, RAS, Scientific and Technological Center of Unique Instrumentation, RAS, Moscow State University and its faculties/institutes, Lomonosov Moscow State University of Fine Chemical Technologies, National University of Science and Technology "MISIS" (Moscow), as well as abroad institutes: Paris VI University, CNRS, Laboratory of Aimé Cotton and Observatoire de Paris (France), Greningen University (Netherlands), Nova Scotia University (Canada), the Technion (Israel), Cambridge and Nottingham Universities (England), CRC (Hungary), etc.
Naturally, the greatest amount of services is provided to scientific organizations of the Central Region of this country, mainly, Moscow and the Moscow region. The important role of CRJ of Institute of Spectroscopy in scientific research of the region is also evident from the fact that the government is planning to create the first large-scale regional distributed CJR in the Moscow region "Structural and spectral diagnostics of materials" on the basis of CJRs of Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials and of Institute of Spectroscopy with the expansion of their services.
The Institute organizes regular scientific meetings and conferences that have received wide recognition both in Russia and abroad:
- Congress on Spectroscopy;
- Troitsk Conference "Medical Physics and Innovation in Medicine";
- Conference on Fundamental Atomic Spectroscopy;
- All-Russian Conference on Analytical Spectroscopy;
- Youth Scientific School on optics and spectroscopy.
Institute of Spectroscopy members are also on organizational and program committees of a wide range of domestic and international conferences, symposia, scientific schools and seminars on various topics of optical spectroscopy.
Particular attention in the Institute is paid to top qualification researchers training. There are Research-Educational Center "Broadband Spectroscopy of Advanced Materials" at the Institute, base chair "Nanooptics and Spectroscopy" (former "Quantum Optics") of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (State University), post-graduate and doctoral studies.
The Institute has a Dissertational Council for awarding degrees of Candidate (Ph.D. equivalent) and Doctor (full professor equivalent) of physico-mathematical sciences in "Optics" and "Theoretical physics" (Chairman E.A. Vinogradov, Academic Secretary M.N. Popova).
Scientists of the Institute are members of national and international scientific societies:
- American Physical Society (APS);
- Institute of Physics, England;
- USA-Europe Academy; European Academy of Sciences (EAS-TECH);
- American Optical Society;
- American Chemical Society;
- are invited by other organizations for theses opposing, conduction of examinations relating to the field of optics and spectroscopy, participation in the committees on science and technology, research and dissertation councils.
Every year, scientists from the Institute publish 120-140 scientific articles in peer reviewed journals, books and monographs. More than 100 talks are given at international scientific conferences. The Institute cooperates with more than 50 leading domestic and foreign research centers and universities. According to various domestic and foreign sources, Institute of Spectroscopy is in the group of premiere Russian scientific organizations with the highest citation index of works of its members. According to the independent expert assessment in 2012 by "Russian Venture Company", Institute of Spectroscopy ranks third among scientific and educational institutions of Russian Federation.
Institute of Spectroscopy of the Russian Academy of Sciences has become in this country a kind of "crystallization center" of professionals in the field of optics, spectroscopy, spectral analysis and spectral-optical instrumentation, regardless of their place of work.
Generally recognized scientific achievements of the Institute are the result of the professionalism and high return of its scientists, as well as the efforts of the management on the organization of scientific work, the infrastructure maintenance and the researchers training. Thanks to the factors mentioned above, an efficient structure of qualified researchers and specialists has been maintained, as well as an operating pilot production, a research library (one of the best in Russian Academy of Sciences) and the entire necessary infrastructure. Practically the entire fleet of laboratory equipment has been upgraded, and talented youth has been attracted to join the team.