Prof. Dr. Peter Rudolph
Coordinator of the competence area “Crystal Growth Technology” at the Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth (IKZ)
Peter Rudolph is the coordinator of the competence area “Crystal Growth Technology” at the Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth (IKZ) in Berlin-Adlershof.
Peter Rudolph (who got his degree as Electrical Engineer at the Technical University of Lvov and subsequently his PhD and Habilitation at the Humboldt University Berlin) became full professor in 1985. He has worked at the Institute of Crystallography and Materials Science of the Humboldt University till 1993 and later at IKZ. He has edited five books and authored/coauthored one book, 24 review papers and over 160 scientific articles. Furthermore, he is coauthor of 28 patents.
His current research topic
...is the growth of semiconductor crystals (GaAs, Ge, Si), applying magnetic fields. For this research the team around Prof. Rudolph was awarded the Innovationspreis Berlin Brandenburg 2008 (Award for Innovation) (s. press release).
Crystal growth on industrial scale is performed by complex methods, one of them growth from the melt. Here, the molten ingredients are cooled down slowly and in a controlled manner, so that the atoms can align themselves to very regular layers. In the frame of the project KristMAG (crystal growth in travelling magnetic fields), co-financed by TSB Berlin and from EFRE funds, the researcher had a crucial idea to improve the current technology: they used travelling magnetic fields to minimize the flow in the melt, leading to a more regular crystallization and thus a higher quality of the crystals.
Key element was to arrange the generators for the magnetic fields inside the melting furnace. This was made possible by newly designed heating coils that are able to generate magnetic fields simultaneously. These coils generate heat via direct current (DC) and magnetic fields via a superposed alternating current (AC). Since these magnetic fields are coupled directly into the crucible, the required field strength is considerably smaller than in the case of external fields.
Mathematicians at WIAS Berlin and engineers at IKZ in cooperation with the Leibniz University Hannover supported the development with 3D numerical modelling of the growth equipment and the physical processes. This new technology will provide a higher yield of crystals with higher quality (see figure: high quality crystal of germanium grown within the KRISTMAG project of IKZ), which already lead to requests from all over the world. Especially the solar industry evinced interest, and a subsequent project is dealing with the application on the production of solar silicon.