In spite of their superior laser and polarizer properties rare-earth orthovanadates (REVO4) single crystals have not been adopted yet into extensive industrial applications because of crystal growth difficulties. The main problems of CZ technique are compositional change and diameter instability. This work presents the first attempt to apply the edge-defined film-fed growth (EFG) technique by which well-shaped REVO4 crystals have been grown directly. The capillary properties of YVO4 and GdVO4 melt have been measured. The applicability of shaped growth for rare-earth orthovanadate family was approved by successful EFG growth of transparent rod-like macro-defect-free single crystals of YVO4 and GdVO4. We address two main approaches to enhance the quality of EFG crystals: (i) meniscus and crystal shape stability dependence on die top shape and (ii) the strategy of effective operating control. Concave die top was found to be the best choice for high-quality EFG growth of REVO4 along  direction. The spectral analysis of weight signal from growing crystal was shown to be a useful feedforward clue to prevent crystallinity degradation at a very early stage. A reasonable stability of the EFG process was achieved using , ,  and  pulling directions.
|Number of pages
|Crystal Research and Technology
|Published - 1999