Institute of inorganic chemistry
of the czech academy of sciences

ANTECEDENTS: 1956 – 1972

Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (ČSAV) was established on April 1, 1956, under the leadership of Prof. Albert Regner, head of the Department of Inorganic Technology of the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague. The Laboratory was first placed in that Department and shared its employees. They brought their basic research topics: the study of the heterogeneous inorganic catalytic processes and processes of technical electrochemistry. The scope was later extended to the study of liquid-to-gas phase transition and inorganic homogeneous catalysis in solutions. On January 1, 1959, the Laboratory was converted into the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry CAS. Its teams were stepwise allocated in various temporary rooms in Prague 6 and 8 and since 1971 they were mostly focused on Pellé Street in Prague 6 (formerly Majakovský Street).

Laboratory of Inorganic Syntheses CAS was established in 1961 in Řež since 1955 the location of the Institute of Nuclear Physics. In 1965 the institution was renamed the Institute of Inorganic Syntheses CAS. The first research task in the workplace was the synthesis of rocket fuels based on hydrides of light elements (Li, Na, Mg, B, Al). Besides the development of technologies for these materials also certain deuterides were prepared. Although the idea to use those hydrides was not successful, it evoked the genesis of a novel branch of inorganic chemistry – chemistry of boranes (boron clusters) and also the development of complex aluminum hydrides, which found their broad-scale industrial application.


In 1972 the workplaces merged with the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. The research groups of electrochemistry, heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis, and crystallization were placed in the Majakovský Street in Prague 6 (now Pellé Street), and the groups of boron and aluminum chemistry were in Řež. The main topics of the „Prague part“were technical electrochemistry (design of electrodes for hydrogen evolution and ion intercalation to inorganic solids), thermodynamic equilibria in liquids and processes in crystallization of technically interesting solids (inorganic salts), chemical reactions of singlet oxygen in homogenous catalysis, heterogeneous kinetics of the reactions of nitrogen oxides – by-products in manufacturing of nitric acid and mainly automobile exhaust gases. Due to novel equipment free radicals and the mechanisms of their generation were studied. In the „Řež part“ boron topics were successfully developed from the synthesis of novel architectures, their identification and characterization to the study by theoretical chemistry tools, the chemistry of aluminum hydrides were further developed and successes were achieved with syntheses of ferric oxides.

Research topics, which did not bring high-quality results, were left off after 1989. In 1990 and 1993 the number of employees decreased by nearly a half. During the 1990s and 2000s, the technical infrastructure of the institute improved considerably. Institute acquired modern equipment for X-ray diffractometry, NMR, electron microscopy, spectral methods including time-resolved techniques, and chromatography. Among the topics, materials chemistry and practical applications have been increasingly accented. Joint laboratories with Czech universities have been established. In 1998 the institute has moved to newly reconstructed buildings on the research campus in Řež.


This scientific team was founded at the end of the fifties based on the scientific contribution of J. Plešek, S. Heřmánek, and B. Štíbr, to whom it owes its lifelong efforts associated with the start and long-term very successful development of the topic. The synthesis of borate clusters has been carried out in Řež since the 1960s, i.e. practically since the beginning of the significant development of this scientific discipline in the world. Since then, boron chemistry has been one of the cornerstones of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, and this department remains a pillar of its existence. In Řež, original procedures leading to new types of compounds are being found, methods for their identification are being developed, and the possibilities of the practical application of cluster boron compounds are being sought.

Today, this department is state-of-the-art and competes with laboratories around the world. My group is proud to be a member of this department and strives to build on its illustrious history.