We designed, fabricated, and installed a
furnace for production of large UV crystals for use in solar
blind optics. The UV crystals are produced by directional
solidification (vertical Bridgman) from melt. The end-use
requirements impose very stringent conditions on the crystal
growth process, particularly on the allowable temperature
variations in the crystal during growth as well as cool-down
to room temperature. We developed a Simulator for this process,
and used the Simulator to optimize the size of various components
in the furnace. The result was a six-heater furnace which
was then fabricated and installed at our client's facilities.
The furnace acceptance tests were completed in the fourth
quarter of 2001, and production of UV crystals is planned
for the first quarter of 2002. The figures above show the
result of simulation output, a close up of the furnace interior,
and the installed equipment.