Czochralski's creative mistake: a milestone on the way to the Gigabit Era

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2003 Dec 1;42(46):5684-98. doi: 10.1002/anie.200300587.


Much of the rapid change in industry, science, and society is brought about by the meteoric development of the microelectronics industry. Daily life is affected by this development; one has only to think of mobile telephones and the chips on modern credit cards. The raw material for microelectronics is the single crystal of silicon, with very high purity and almost perfect crystal structure. About 95% of the world's current production of silicon single crystals is achieved using the process that Jan Czochralski discovered in 1916. Today, single crystals of silicon can be grown that are up to 2 m long, 300 mm in diameter, and weigh up to 265 kg. The use of magnetic fields has led to significant advances in crystal-drawing technology. Intensive research and development reveals that in addition to the technology, which provides crystals of ever-increasing diameter, defect engineering, and the control of the numerous temperature-dependent reactions of crystal defects, are of paramount importance.