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Jan Czochralski and historical development of the Czochralski method - part 2

Reinhard Uecker 1Anna Pajaczkowska 2

1. Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth (IKZ), Max-Born-Str 2, Berlin 12489, Germany
2. Institute of Electronic Materials Technology (ITME), Wólczyńska 133, Warszawa 01-919, Poland

A brief summary of the life and scientific achievements of the worldwide known metallurgist and inventor of the new crystal growth method, hereafter named Czochralski method (CZ method), is presented. Czochralski was born on October 23rd 1885 in Kcynia, a small town belonging then to the German Empire, now in central part of Poland, close to Torun, the city of Copernicus. First part of his life he spent in Berlin, Germany, where he studied, worked to become a well known specialist in metallurgy, the career finally crowned by founding and heading of the German Metallurgical Society. In this period, in 1916 he made his most outstanding discovery of the method of growing single crystals during investigations of growth velocities of metals. He obtained single crystals of metals a few mm in diameter and length up to 150 mm. The CZ method, originally invented for metals, was improved and cited from its very beginning (1918). Later on, the method was extended to other substances with most notable success in semiconductors, since germanium and silicon transistors were discovered. By invitation of the President of Poland, he returned to then reemerged Poland in 1928 and since then he continued his research at the Technical University in Warsaw. After the Second World War, he was forced to come back to Kcynia. He died in Poznan and was buried in 1953 in Kcynia. During his entire professional life he was a very active and competent scientist, able to identify most important aspects of physical problems to understand them, and finally to find successful application of the conceived ideas. He used several methods for characterization of metals and alloys. He was an author of large number of papers and patents which can be easily found in Chemical Abstracts. He was active in German and Polish Materials Sciences Societies.

Still in the lifetime of Czochralski the crystal growth method named after him gained tremendously in importance for the growth of materials applied in electronics technology. Initiated by the invention of the first transistor (based on Ge) in 1947, germanium and silicon were the first semiconductor crystals grown by the Czochralski method on industrial scale. In the middle of the fifties the crystal diameter reached already 6 and 4 inch, respectively. The availability of the Czochralski method also contributed substantially to the rapid development of compound semiconductors invented in the early fifties with GaAs as most important representative. In 1960 the first - ruby - laser was operated. This event triggered a huge demand worldwide for bulk crystals for optical applications. Henceforward a rapidly increasing number of oxide and fluoride crystals were grown by the Czochralski method. The first oxide crystal was CaWO4 in 1960, and the first fluoride CaF2 in 1961, both grown at Bell Telephone Laboratories, the same potent US-company which has been the first commercial producer of Ge and Si Czochralski crystals. The early spread of the Czochralski method into other countries strongly depended on their economic potential after the Second World War. However, whereas the importance of the Czochralski method for silicon dropped in favour of the floating zone technique until the mid of the 70`s, it had become well established for other compounds, e.g. for oxide crystals by the mid of the sixties. At that time a boom started in the commercial production and utilisation of single crystals in different fields. To make the Czochralski method applicable for this wide spectrum of materials an increasing number of international research groups made several important modifications during the following decade. These included measures which suppress melt evaporation, influence the fluid flow in the melt and allow a precise diameter control of the growing crystal. Nowadays, the Czochralski technique is the highest developed method with regard to the technical level and the process automation and therefore the method of choice for the growth and production of high perfect bulk single crystals, among them silicon as well as a multitude of oxides, fluorides and multicomponent compounds.

From the perspective of almost the passed century the common opinion of the scientific community recognized him as a great scientist and investigator who has laid the foundation for the development of the global electronics. For recognition of his scientific achievements the Polish Parliament adopted a resolution declaring 2013 as the Year of Jan Czochralski.


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Related papers

Presentation: Plenary Lecture at 17th International Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy - ICCGE-17, Plenary Session, by Reinhard Uecker
See On-line Journal of 17th International Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy - ICCGE-17

Submitted: 2013-07-04 11:28
Revised:   2013-07-22 10:45