The Crystal Growth Laboratory

The Crystal Growth Laboratory is a support facility within the Department of Physics at Oklahoma State University. We are located on the OSU campus in Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA.

 

Our laboratory is dedicated to the custom growth of large single crystals and photo-refractive glasses for research projects in the Department of Physics.

 

Much of the progress in solid state physics, which has led to the development of the transistor, the integrated circuit and a number of lasers, can be attributed to the availability of single crystals for both research and the manufacturing of marketable devices.

 

A single crystal is defined as a regular array of atoms that is repeated with the same orientation and without interruption throughout the sample.

 

This laboratory is a unique facility. It is one of the few facilities in the country that can provide a custom crystal growth service. This involves the growth of doped crystals, such as Lithium Yttrium Erbium Fluoride (LiYF4:Er), which are not commercially available.

 

We have grown a wide variety of fluoride, alkali halide and oxide host materials. The crystals grown are usually produced in a series with varying concentrations of rare earth and/or transition metal ion dopants. While most of the crystals grown here are used in house, we have supplied custom doped crystals to researchers at industrial, government and university laboratories worldwide.

 

Materials We Have Grown

  • Fluorides: Lithium Yttrium Fluoride (LiYF4), Rubidium Magnesium Fluoride (RbMgF3), Manganese Zinc Fluoride (Mn1-xZnxF2), Sodium Magnesium Fluoride (NaMgF3), Potassium Zinc Fluoride (KZnF3)
  • Glasses: Sodium Magnesium Aluminum Silicon Oxide
  • Halides: Potassium Chloride (KCl), Sodium Chloride (NaCl), Potassium Bromide (KBr), Potassium Fluoride (KF)
  • Oxides: Lithium Niobate (LiNbO3), Bismuth Germanium Oxide (Bi12GeO20), Bismuth Silicon Oxide (Bi12GeO20)

 

Growth Systems

  • A radio frequency induction heated Czochralski system used for the growth of oxides.
  • A resistance heated Czochralski system used for the growth of fluorides and alkali halides.
  • A Bridgman system used for the poling of Lithium Niobate and the growth of fluorides.
  • A resistance heated tube furnace for the growth of photorefractive glasses.

 

Materials Purification

Some of our growth projects have required the pre-processing of the starting materials in order to improve the quality of the crystals produced. While the purification systems listed below are still on hand, they are not currently in operation.

  • An oxide pretreatment system used for the sintering of oxide materials in an oxygen rich atmosphere.
  • A RAP (Reactive Atmosphere Processing) Bridgman system for the purification of halide materials.

 

Sample Preparation Equipment

  • A Rigaku back reflection Laue x-ray system for crystal orientation.
  • Two low speed diamond saws.
  • Three polishing/lapping machines.
  • Two precision polishing fixtures used to obtain flat, parallel polished surfaces on samples.

 

Other Laboratory Equipment

  • A vacuum vapor deposition system used to place electrodes on research samples.
  • A cold cathode sputter deposition system.
  • A small general purpose drying furnace.
  • An annealing furnace.
  • A glove box used for working with moisture sensitive materials in a dry atmosphere.