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Appl. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 371; doi:10.3390/app7040371

Development of Auto-Seeding System Using Image Processing Technology in the Sapphire Crystal Growth Process via the Kyropoulos Method

1
Precision Manufacturing & Control R&D Group, Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, 1,30, Gwahaksandan 1-ro 60 beon-gil, Gangseo-gu, Busan 46742, Korea
2
School of Mechanical Engineering, Pusan National University, 2, Busan daehak-ro 63 beon-gil, Geumjeong-gu, Busan 46241, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 February 2017 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 5 April 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
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Abstract

The Kyropoulos (Ky) and Czochralski (Cz) methods of crystal growth are used for large-diameter single crystals. The seeding process in these methods must induce initial crystallization by initiating contact between the seed crystals and the surface of the melted material. In the Ky and Cz methods, the seeding process lays the foundation for ingot growth during the entire growth process. When any defect occurs in this process, it is likely to spread to the entire ingot. In this paper, a vision system was constructed for auto seeding and for observing the surface of the melt in the Ky method. An algorithm was developed to detect the time when the internal convection of the melt is stabilized by observing the shape of the spoke pattern on the melt material surface. Then, the vision system and algorithm were applied to the growth furnace, and the possibility of process automation was examined for sapphire growth. To confirm that the convection of the melt was stabilized, the position of the island (i.e., the center of a spoke pattern) was detected using the vision system and image processing. When the observed coordinates for the center of the island were compared with the coordinates detected from the image processing algorithm, there was an average error of 1.87 mm (based on an image with 1024 × 768 pixels). View Full-Text
Keywords: sapphire; single crystal growth; Kyropoulos method; auto-seeding; image processing; spoke pattern sapphire; single crystal growth; Kyropoulos method; auto-seeding; image processing; spoke pattern
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kim, C.M.; Kim, S.R.; Ahn, J.H. Development of Auto-Seeding System Using Image Processing Technology in the Sapphire Crystal Growth Process via the Kyropoulos Method. Appl. Sci. 2017, 7, 371.

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