The Czochralski crystal-growth method is mainly used for silicon-based electronics and solar energy applications. Umicore has further refined this method in order to make it work for germanium.
Umicore created the world’s purest germanium crystal. With a purity of 99.99999999999% it is used to detect and analyse gamma rays in particle accelerators, nuclear power plants and space applications, such as the Gamma Ray Spectrometer on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. In 2003 this instrument discovered huge amounts of water across vast areas of Mars. Today, ultrapure germanium crystals are being used to build a giant instrument to detect dark matter in our universe. Umicore continues to innovate and develop its germanium-crystal production technology. This has enabled us to maintain our leadership in germanium substrates for space applications.