Floating Zone Single Crystal Furnace Installed in BCMaterialsMonday, 4 November, 2013
A single crystal of pure nickel has been successfully grown in the new Floating Zone furnace recently installed in BCMaterials. The furnace is a compact, self-contained unit, with all the controls located on the front of the machine. It can grow single crystal bars of 6 mm in diameter and 10 cm in length. The maximum attainable temperature is 2200ºC. A screen shows an amplified, live image of the crystal as it grows.
In this amplified image, the seed can be seen connected to the supply material by a drop of molten Nickel. During the growth four halogen lamps surround the crystal, and the light is focused into a small spot on the surface of the material, heating it up to the melting point. The lamps move up at a slow controlled rate melting new material from the top, and allowing the liquid to solidify slowly at the bottom, giving the atoms in the melt enough time to form a single crystal.
Such a furnace will be used in the currently ongoing research on Magnetic Shape Memory Alloys, as well as in other advanced materials that are being developed at BCMaterials.