Technical Data Sheet of Single Crystal Sapphire

Information on Prof. Jan Czochralski (1885-1953)

Do you know who you owe that you can use your computer every day, use your smartphone or play on the console? Jan Czochralski, a Polish scientist, born in 1885 in Kcynia who developed a method for obtaining monocrystals. Today’s electronics is based on this method and it’s modifications.Unfortunately, the scientist did not live to see the effects of his discovery. Although he is the most-cited Polish scientist, it is only now that we are discovering its history.Czochralski made his breakthrough discovery by accident. When conducting laboratory tests, he soaked his pen in a bottle of molten tin instead of ink. When he pulled it out he obtained a metal rod, which was a single crystal. At first, this discovery was of interest only to metal scientists. It was not until the early 1950s that it was used on a wider scale.

Czochralski Method

Currently, single crystals obtained by the Czochralski method appear in every branch of electronics. This is because they are used in transistors, or semiconductor components, on which the entire current electronic technology is based. If it were not for monocrystals, the current computers would still occupy the entire room and weighed several tons. Not to mention smartphones or laptops, which would not exist at all. All of today’s electronics is based on the discovery of Czochralski.

From home experiments to a career in science

From the young Czochralski liked to conduct various types of chemical experiments, which led to the fact that at the age of 16 he had to leave his family home. His father, a carpenter, was just afraid that the son would start a fire one day. At the beginning Czochralski took a job in a pharmacy in Krotoszyn, but he did not stay there long. After three years, he went to the laboratories of the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) concern in Berlin, where he was the head of the steel and iron testing.

At the same time, he was educated at the Polytechnic in Charlottenburg (today TU Berlin) and in 1910 became a chemical engineer. Over the years, he was assistant to Wichard von Moellendorff, with whom he published a scientific work on the crystallography of metals. Then he independently developed the method of obtaining single crystals, thanks to which he gained a global reputation.

The discovery that brought a job offer from Ford

He enriched himself on another invention. In 1924, he patented a tinless bearing alloy (known as metal B or Bahnmetal), which was immediately used in railways. His discovery caused a revolution because it gave huge savings and ensured the reliability of the rotating shafts. The patent for his tinless alloy was bought by German railways and several other big companies. And on his desk there was a job offer from Henry Ford himself.The American car entrepreneur desperately wanted the Polish scientist to work for his company. However, he rejected the offer and instead decided to return to Poland. In 1928 he accepted the proposition of the President of the Republic of Poland Ignacy Mościcki (also a respected chemist) and took over the chair at the Warsaw Polytechnic.After the war, he was stripped of his professorship by the communist regime due to his involvement with Germany during the war, although he was later cleared of any wrongdoing by a Polish court. He returned to his native town of Kcynia, where he ran a small cosmetics and household chemicals firm until his death in 1953.