In 1917, a Polish chemist perfected a method of creating crystals that would allow for the computer industry to flourish many decades later. This method came to be known as the Czochralski method, named after this scientist.
Also known as the “pulled” method, this process allows for large crystals to be literally “pulled” out of a molten solution.
The process is relatively simple. A seed crystal of an element (most usually silicon) is placed just at the surface of the molten silicon solution. And in order to make the crystal as perfect and free from imperfections as possible, the crystal is slowly turned as it is slowly drawn up. This allows for very perfect crystals to be grown in very large sizes.
The importance of this to the computer industry is that it is the pulled process of crystal formation that allows the perfect silicon computer chips to be made that are necessary for the industry.
Of course the importance to us is that this method can also be used to make large synthetic gemstone crystals. Most notably ruby, sapphire, spinel, yttrium-aluminum-garnet or YAG, alexandrite, and others. This method allows for very cost effective synthetic crystals to be grown the are of high quality and very cheap to produce.
Below you will find three graphics of how the process works. If you would like to learn more about the Czochralski method including actual photographs of the process and finished gemstones, please join us in the International School of Gemology by pressing on the logo link at the bottom of the page.