The Czochralski process is a method of crystal growth used to obtain single crystals of semiconductors (e.g. silicon, germaniumand gallium arsenide), metals (e.g. palladium, platinum, silver, gold), salts and synthetic gemstones. The process is named after Polish scientist Jan Czochralski, who invented the method in 1916 while investigating the crystallization rates of metals.
The most important application may be the growth of large cylindrical ingots, or boules, of single crystal silicon used in the electronics industry to make semiconductor devices like integrated circuits. Other semiconductors, such as gallium arsenide, can also be grown by this method, although lower defect densities in this case can be obtained using variants of the Bridgman-Stockbarger technique.
Monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si) grown by the Czochralski process is often referred to as monocrystalline Czochralski silicon (Cz-Si). It is the basic material in the production of integrated circuits used in computers, TVs, mobile phones and all types of electronic equipment and semiconductor devices. Monocrystalline silicon is also used in large quantities by the photovoltaic industry for the production of conventional mono-Si solar cells. The almost perfect crystal structure yields the highest light-to-electricity conversion efficiency for silicon.