Industrial production of semiconductor single crystals
Since the mid-1950s development of semiconductor and optical materials science and also development of optics and microelectronics in the Soviet Union by their scope and results are comparable with the development of the atomic project and the creation of space rocket complex.
The State Institute of Rare Metals "Giredmet" (Moscow) may be rightfully considered as the ancestor of materials science for optical and semiconductor industry of the former USSR.
In the State production laboratory (SPL) of "Giredmet" headed by B.A. Sakharov, in the workshop M8 of the State production laboratory of "Giredmet" there was developed germanium crystal growing technology by the Czochralski method, and in July, 1956 it has firstly grown a single crystal of germanium. The developers of the technology of crystals growing are always a team of scientists, designers, and engineers. The developers of the technology of growing both germanium and silicon were B.A. Sakharov, V.P. Grishin, M.G. Milvidskiy, Kh.I. Makeyev, and others. In Podolsk, the first in the USSR single silicon crystal has been grown in 1958.
The following technologies have been developed in "Giredmet" and implemented at the plant in Krasnoyarsk:
Upon that, a unique scientific and design school was born on growing various single crystals by the Czochralski method that today, unfortunately, is on the verge of extinction. The materials science competence for the semiconductor, optical, and laser industries are in plight. Today, there are government programs to support the development of electronic and optical hardware components for the domestic electronics, optoelectronics, production of optical products and laser technology products. But for economic reasons, at this stage, they are applied since the moment of creation of an instrument and laser structure, optical products bypassing the stage of production the materials for them (ingots and wafers from silicon, gallium arsenide, indium phosphide, germanium, and so on.). In the latter case, the virgin materials are purchased abroad.
Today there is a real threat of losing a number of technologies for production and processing materials that are not bulk in terms of production volume, but extremely necessary for the full-scale development of the sector (indium antimonide, cadmium selenide, zinc, indium phosphide, and gallium phosphide, etc.).
In 2016, a number of enterprises engaged in the development and production of thermal imaging and terahertz optics, detectors, and devices based on them, on the one hand, and a number of employees of factories and institutes of the former USSR that have a work experience in this field, on the other hand, have created the company "InfraCrystal" which aims to maintain and develop competence in the field of growing single crystals by the Czochralski method for optical and semiconductor industries in Russia. LLC "InfraCrystal" in close cooperation with JSC "Giredmet" and in production areas of JSC "Orion" organized a site to produce germanium and silicon single crystals by the Czochralski method, implemented the advanced technologies for production of germanium single crystals with high homogeneity of properties. The full cycle production was launched taking into account the recycling of its own waste, such directions are being developed as production of germanium crystals with high homogeneity and diameter of up to 500 mm.