The history of the Research and technological institute of optical materials all-Russia scientific center "S.I.Vavilov State Optical Institute" is inseparably associated with the history of Vavilov State Optical Institute (VSOI), which was founded in December 1918. In a very short period a group of VSOI scientists headed by the member of the Academy of Sciences D.S. Rozhdestvensky created the physicochemical foundation for a complex optical glass-melting process. It allowed the USSR to completely dispense with procurements of foreign optical glass by the beginning of 1927.
In VSOI research studies on the development of compositions and manufacturing technology were conducted in the department headed by the member of the Academy of Sciences I.V. Grebenshchikov. After his death in 1953 the department was headed by the Doctor of physical-mathematical sciences A.I. Stozharov, and since 1966 the head of the department has been the future member of the Academy of Sciences G.T. Petrovsky.
VSOI optical scientists developed domestic catalogues of optical (more than 70 brands) and radiation-resistant (more than 60 brands) glass, which provided the opportunity to create schemes of complex optical lenses that formed and transferred an image without chromatic and other aberrations.
In 1969, due to the increase of the amount of work and the number of employees, the materials laboratories of the institute were converted into the 1st branch of VSOI. The appointed director of the new institution was G.T. Petrovsky.
In the middle of the 1980s, due to complications with funding, VSOI was divided into 6 independent thematic institutes. The first institute to become independent was the Research and technological institute of optical materials - in 1991. In subsequent years the institute strengthened its position as the leading centre of the country in the area of optical materials studies. It cooperated with enterprises and institutes of the optical industry.