Professor Jan Czochralski (1885-1953)
PAWEL E. TOMASZEWSKI
AND HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE ART AND SCIENCE OF CRYSTAL GROWTH
INSTITUTE OF LOW TEMPERATURE AND STRUCTURE RESEARCH, POLISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCE
ul. OKÓLNA 2, P.O. BOX 1410, 50-950 WROC£AW 2, POLAND
There are few Polish scientists in the fields of physics and
chemistry whose names are well known all over the world as Jan Czochralski.
Apart from Mikolaj Kopernik, Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Marian Smoluchowski and
Kazimierz Fajans, probably only Jan Czochralski has found a permanent place
not only in the history of these sciences but also in the modern scientific
terminology. Scientific areas, such as solid state physics, electronics
and materials science, which created the foundation of modern technology,
owe, at least in part, their progress and present position to him.
His first discovery in the beginning of the 20th century was rediscovered
later in the middle of the century by American semiconductor technology
specialists, who named his crystal pulling technique the Czochralski method.
This secured for Jan Czochralski a remarkable position in the modern
science. It is important, therefore, to know who Czochralski was and his
IN THE FAMILY HOME
Jan Czochralski belonged to a generation actively participating in
the exciting progress of science and technology at the beginning of
the 20th century. For example, the first flight of an airplane by
the Wright brothers (1903), condensation of helium (H. Kamerlingh-Onnes,
1908), the discovery of the atom nucleus (E. Rutherford, 1911),
the discovery of superconductivity (H. Kamerlingh-Onnes, 1911),
the diffraction of X-rays by crystals (M. von Laue, 1912), the model of
the atom (N. Bohr, 1914), the theory of relativity (A. Einstein, 1916),
the first flight over the Atlantic (J. Alcock and A.W. Brown, 1919) and
the formulation of quantum mechanics (W. Heisenberg, 1925).
Jan Czochralski was born on 23 October 1885 in Kcynia in the Paluki region,
which was then under Prussian domination. He was the eighth child of
the Polish craftsmen Franciszek Czochralski and his wife Marta from
the Suchomski family. The Czochralskis have been carpenters for
many generations. Franciszek Czochralski, grandfather of Jan, and his
coworkers are shown in Fig. 1 in front of the family house in about 1904.
Thus it is not surprising that Jan loved both hard work and the native land.
FIG. 1 - FRANCISZEK CZOCHRALSKI AND COWORKERS CA 1904.
In accordance with the wish of his father, Jan completed teachers' seminar
in Kcynia. He was already interested in chemistry during his school days.
However, even though he had passed his matriculation, he did not accept
his matriculation certificate because he had gotten poor grades. Lack of
this document closed the road to teaching, higher education and
a scientific career. Thus, he left for Krotoszyn  to work in
a drugstore and to study chemistry on his own. He promised his parents
that he would return to Kcynia when he became famous.
During this period, Berlin was the nearest academic city and the place
where many Poles studied. Jan Czochralski went there at the end of 1904
and began to work in the pharmacy and drugstore of Dr. A. Herbrand in
Altglienicke (today one of the districts of Berlin). He carried out analyses
of ores, oils, greases and metals and acquired knowledge and independence
in formulating research topics. Later he worked for a short period
in the laboratory of Kunheim and Co. in Niederschoenweide near Berlin
and then in Allgemeine Elektrizitaets-Gesellschaft (AEG). His job in
Kabelwerk Oberspree and the two years spent in their research laboratories
prepared him to become head of the laboratory of steel and iron research.
This laboratory dealt with checking the quality and purity of metals
and alloys and was engaged in the refinement of copper.
Figure 2 shows Jan Czochralski in his Berlin laboratory, circa 1907.
Simultaneously he attended lectures on chemistry at the Charlottenburg
Polytechnic near Berlin.
Fig. 3 is a portrait of Jan Czochralski in 1907. In about 1910 he obtained
the title of chemist-engineer. From 1911 to 1914 he was an assistant
of Wichard von Moellendorff with whom he published his first paper
devoted to the crystallography of metalls, or more precisely to
dislocation theory (Technologische Schluesse aus Kristallographie der
Metalle [Technological conclusions from metal crystallography],
Zeitschrift des Vereines Deutscher Ingenieure 57, 931-935, 1014-1020 (1913)).
FIG. 2 - KABELWERK OBERSPREE RESEARCH LABORATORIES, JAN CZOCHRALSKI (FAR LEFT) CA 1907.
FIG. 3 - JAN CZOCHRALSKI, BERLIN CA 1907
The main work of Czochralski was the introduction of aluminum to
electrical engineering i.e. pioneering works on the technology of
the production of sheets, wires and pressings of aluminum, the study
of aluminum alloys, and the standardization of metallographic studies.
Metals and metallography were Czochralski's passion.
His achievements were outstanding and made new roads in metallurgical
science and technology. Czochralski's fame grew slowly and steadily.
DISCOVERY OF THE CZOCHRALSKI METHOD
The Czochralski method of growing single crystals brought Jan Czochralski
his greatest publicity. The method was developed in 1916 and was initially
used to measure the crystallization rate of metals. The method was developed
as the result of an accident and through Czochralski's careful observation.
One evening he left aside a crucible with molten tin and returned to
writing notes on a crystallization study.
At some moment, lost in thoughts, instead of dipping his pen in the inkpot,
he dipped it in the crucible and withdrew it quickly. He observed then
a thin thread of solidified metal hanging at the tip of the nib.
The discovery was made! The nib slot, in which crystallization was
initiated, was replaced by a special narrow capillary and in some cases
by a seed of the growing crystal. Czochralski checked later that
the crystallized wire was a single crystal. The crystals obtained in
that way had diameters of about a millimeter and lengths up to 150 cm.
Czochralski published a paper on the study of the rate of crystallization
of tin, zinc and lead, and the maximum rate of pulling of a crystal was
recognized as the characteristics of the crystallizing material (Ein neues
Verfahren zur Messung des Kristallisationsgeschwindigkeit der Metalle
[A new method for the measurement of crystallization rate of metals],
Z. phys. Chem. 92, 219-221 (1918); the paper was received in the editorial
office on 19 August 1916). Figure 4 is a diagram of the technique from
this manuscript. Details of the new method, but without any figure, appeared
earlier in another paper published by Czochralski (Zeitschrift des Vereines
Deutscher Ingenieure 61, 345-351 (1917)). He is also the author of the first
attempt at creating a microscopic theory of recrystallization
(Int. Zeitschrift fuer Metallographie 8, 1-43 (1916)).
FIG. 4 - DIAGRAM OF THE MEASUREMENT OF
CRYSTALLIZATION RATE OF METALS
The application of the Czochralski method exclusively as a technique for
obtaining single crystals is due to W. von Wartenberg (Verhandlungen der
Deutsche Phys. Gesellschaft 20, 113 (1918)). Thus, the Czochralski method
was a method of producing large single crystals by inserting a small seed
crystal into a crucible filled with molten material, then slowly pulling
the seed up from the melt with its simultaneous rotation. Later
modifications of this method have also been reported. It is interesting
to note that in his own investigations Czochralski obtained single crystals
by the Bridgman method. The Czochralski method was completely forgotten after
World War II. However, increasing demand for semiconductor electronic
materials in 1950 led the Americans G.K. Teal and J.B. Little from Bell
Telephone Laboratories to rediscover and widely apply this growth method,
giving it world-wide fame as the Czochralski method for growing large
single crystals on an industrial scale (Growth of germanium single crystals,
Phys. Rev. 78, 647 (1950) and Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. 25, 16 (1950)).
At the present time no other crystal growth method can compete with
the Czochralski method.
IN FRANKFURT ON MEIN
In 1917 Jan Czochralski moved to Frankfurt on Mein and, combining scientific
research with workshop efforts, organized the Laboratory of Metal Science
of the Metall Gesellschaft A.G.. Several valuable scientific papers and
patents were developed there. Among the patents was the highly famous patent
on a tin-free bearing alloy for railways, called metal B, patented in 1924
and bought by many countries all over the world, including USA, France and
England. He also pioneered investigations of the anisotropy of the hardness
of single crystals (works between 1913 and 1923), which are of great
importance for the plastic treatment of materials.
Czochralski wrote two handbooks: Lagermetale und ihre technologische
Bewertung [Bearing metal and its technological evaluation] (coauthored
with G. Welter, 1920, 1924) and Moderne Metallkunde in Theorie and Praxis
[Modern metal science in theory and practice] (1924), which were later
translated into several languages.
Many of Czochralski's works were military secrets (later even in Poland)
and have never been published. It is known, however, that during this
Frankfurt period he authored reports containing more than two thousand pages.
In 1919 Jan Czochralski with a few friends founded German Society for
Metals Science (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Metallkunde) and in 1925
became its president. He was also an honorary member of the Institute
of Metals in London.
IN POLAND AGAIN
Poland revived after World War I and required the knowledge and capabilities
of its sons and daughters scattered all over the world. Jan Czochralski did
not forget about his native land despite his high position in the German
industry. He returned to Poland at the invitation of the President of
Poland, Ignacy Moscicki, an eminent professor of chemistry, and in 1929
he took the position of professor in the Faculty of Chemistry at
the Warsaw University of Technology, where he also obtained his first of
many honorary doctorates. Figure 5 shows Prof. Jan Czochralski in 1929.
He invested the fortune he brought from Germany in Polish industry and arts
(i.e. founded artistic scholarships). The drawing rooms of his home became
popular in Warsaw. Once again he organized his workshop:
the Department of Metallurgy and Metals Science in the Warsaw University of
Technology and Institute of Metallurgy and Metal Science. The latter
mainly working for the Ministry of Defence. Both of these scientific
institutions were equipped with the latest apparatus. Prof. Czochralski
also organized Metallurgical Section in the Chemical Research Institute,
one of the leading independent research institutions in the country.
Figure 6 shows the Polish President visiting Czochralski's laboratory.
FIG. 5 - PROF. JAN CZOCHRALSKI, WARSAW, 1929
FIG. 6 - THE POLISH PRESIDENT, IGNACY MOSCICKI, (FAR RIGHT) VISITING
CZOCHRALSKI'S LABORATORY. JAN CZOCHRALSKI (SECOND FROM THE LEFT)
In the institutions mentioned above, Prof. Czochralski continued
the studies which he had undertaken earlier in Germany. He was still engaged
in measurements of the rate of crystallization of metals. Figure 7 shows
the apparatus used for sodium studies in 1936. He also studied the elastic
properties of metals and alloys and their corrosion in different gas
atmospheres. In addition, Czochralski investigated the influence of
experimental conditions on the shape of crystals obtained by his growth
method (Wiadomosci Instytutu Metalurgii i Metaloznawstwa 3, 69-74 (1936);
4, 85-88 (1937)) and studied another method of obtaining single crystals,
by recrystallization of the initial material.
FIG. 7 - APPARATUS USED FOR SODIUM STUDIES, 1936
He had fulfilled his pronnouncement of youth. He was famous and prosperous,
but he also remembered his origin. Jan Czochralski did not forget his
native Kcynia where his mother lived. In Kcynia he had his second home (figure 8).
Figure 9 shows Jan Czochralski with his wife and daughter. He was very
interested in everything that concerned his native surroundings.
He supported both archeological studies as well as the geological search
for petroleum beds. He was also interested in the progress of the Polish
economy and there are even some papers retained from that period.
There is also the term Czochralski process, mentioned in the McGraw-Hill
Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (3rd edition, p. 408),
in the field of ecology.
FIG. 8 - HOME IN KCYNIA, POLAND
FIG. 9 - CZOCHRALSKI FAMILY
THE TRAGEDY OF WAR
In the winter of 1939 at the beginning of World War II, at the request
of his coworkers at his institute Jan Czochralski organized the Department
of Materials Research as a service institution. Figure 10 shows Prof. Jan
Czochralski in his office in Warsaw University of Technology. 
At the price of producing spare parts for the Germans and the city
self-government administration, the service institution provided jobs and
security (giving appropriate documents) to dozen of persons in occupied
Warsaw. It also supplied the National Army  fighting for the freedom
of the country.
FIG. 10 - PROFESSOR JAN CZOCHRALSKI,
WARSAW UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Cooperation with the National Army (for example, extracting persons
imprisoned by the Germans, helping the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, saving
collections from destroyed museums, and rendering help to Polish men of
letters and artists) was a natural feature of the activities of
Czochralski. He considered it his moral duty to use his German connections
and a good knowledge of the German language for the Polish cause, risking
both being imprisoned by the Germans and/or being suspected of collaboration.
And indeed after the war, the senate of Warsaw University of Technology
accused him of collaboration with the Germans and turned down his offer
to continue his research, excluding him from the scientific life of
the country. This was the price paid by Czochralski for his wish to serve
RETURN TO KCYNIA
Professor Czochralski was deeply embittered and decided to return to his
native Kcynia. With his family he founded a drug company, BION,
producing different types of cosmetics and household chemicals. In this
way the circle closed. Jan Czochralski returned to Kcynia and to
the chemistry of drugs and pharmacy. On 22 April, 1953 he died of heart
disease and was buried in Kcynia.
Professor Jan Czochralski's life was colorful and tragic. He was an eminent
scientist, both as an observer and a practitioner in the area of pure and
technical sciences, and a humanist with diverse interests. He wrote
scientific papers as well as poetry and helped industry as well as
young artists. He was widely known before the World War II, but was then
forgotten. However, he knew his own value, which he achieved through
hard work, and did not let others laugh or disdain him. Some people
considered him dry, selfish and uncaring (because he was demanding and
secretive) while others were fascinated by his charming smile and faith
Thus, from different sources emerges a picture of complete contradiction.
However, there is no doubt that he remains in history as a great Polish
scientist whose name is well known in present day crystallography, materials science
and electronics. For this reason the Tenth European Crystallographic Meeting,
organized in Wroclaw in 1986, was dedicated to Professor Jan Czochralski
to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the discovery of
the Czochralski method. Since its foundation in 1991, the Polish Society
for Crystal Growth commemorates him in the form of the Czochralski Lecture,
which is delivered as the opening lecture of every Polish Crystal Growth
Conference by a distinguished scientist with recognized contribution in
crystal growth related fields. Recently, this Society changed its name
to the Czochralski Polish Society for Crystal Growth.
NEW RESEARCH METHODS
The list of publications by Jan Czochralski numbers about one hundred.
A complete list of these papers may be found in his biography
(Wiadomosci Chemiczne 41, 597-634 (1987)).
A specific feature of his work and his achievements was the enrichment of
the means and methods of research. His solutions of successive scientific
problems required construction of suitable apparatus, special methods of
measurements, and adaptation of methods known in other fields of science.
This led to the following:
- Studies of the rate of crystallization of metals resulted in
the Czochralski method of growing single crystals, which has become very
popular and widely applied till today,
- Studies on the recrystallization of metals resulted in recrystallization
diagrams, which are used commonly for describing the properties of
- The method of analysis of heating curves was developed, which is used
for the measurements of self-improvement of materials,
- Metallographic investigations required the development of new methods
of etching, which inter alia resulted in Czochralski reagents for
the etching of gold,
- The method of quantitative determination of nonmetallic precipitates
in iron and steel (microscopic observations and analysis of electrical
resistivity of precipitates and the matrix) was born out of studies of
the quality of materials,
- An attempt to detect and identify nonmetallic precipitates using
a specially constructed "radiomicroscope",
- Studies of the corrosion of different materials stimulated the development
consistent and controlled conditions of measurements,
- Lack of X-ray equipment in Warsaw University of Technology led to
the development of non-X-ray techniques (etch figures, distorted
reflections and traces of mechanical deformation; methods taken from
mineralogy) for determining the orientation of metal single crystals,
- Introduction of new X-ray methods to metals science and their wide
application (among others, for studies of the influence of deformation
on diffraction patterns).
The present article on the life of Prof. Jan Czochralski took about ten
years of research of source materials and numerous interviews and
would not have been completed without the enormous assistance
of many persons, offices, archives and museums in Poland and abroad.
The author is grateful to the members of the family of Professor
Czochralski in Poland and abroad, who searched and placed at
the author's disposal several valuable materials and documents.
He also thanks Professor Kazimierz Lukaszewicz for his encouragement
in these fascinating searches and analyses, and to Professor Keshra
Sangwal for translating the article into English.
 In 1795 Poland was eliminated from the map of Europe and divided
between Prussia, Austria and Russia. The region of Wielkopolska, including
Paluki, became a part of Prussia (since 1871, the German Empire). Poland
regained independence in 1918.
 The surname of the Nobel prize winner for the discovery of
fullerenes, Sir H.W. Kroto, is associated with this town, where his
 After the occupation of Poland, all Polish institutions of higher
education were closed.
 Armia Krajowa (AK) was an underground army of the Polish State,
with headquarters of in London, conducting training and guerrilla struggle
in the territories occupied by Nazi Germany and the USSR.
The article was prepared for WWW PTWK by W. Polak