Growth of Ternary Compound Semiconductors – (GTCS)

Science Objectives

Growth of Ternary Compound Semiconductors (MSL SCA-GTCS) grows semiconductor crystals based on zinc selenide (ZnSe) compounds in microgravity. ZnSe-based crystals have been potential applications for high-power lasers operating in infrared wavelengths. The investigation compares structural quality of crystals grown on Earth and in microgravity to establish how gravity-driven fluid flows contribute to formation of various types of crystalline defects.


Launching 6 Sample Cartridge Assemblies (SCAs) to the International Space Station via Northrop Grumman Commercial Resupply Service Mission-19 (NG-19).

Experiment Description

The Growth of Ternary Compound Semiconductors (MSL SCA-GTCS) investigation performs crystal growth of Zinc selenide (ZnSe), Zinc selenide telluride (ZnSeTe), and Chromium-doped ZnSe by the physical vapor transport method. The main scientific objective is to study the effects of gravity-driven fluid flows on the structural, electrical, and optical characteristics of the grown crystals by comparing the crystals grown on Earth and in space. The samples are processed in the Low Gradient Furnace (LGF) installed in the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) inside of the Materials Science Research Rack (MSRR) on the International Space Station.

Space Applications

The space station increasingly provides a platform for research on crystal growth in microgravity. By adding to that body of research, this investigation could contribute to continued expansion of commercial use of space.

Earth Applications

Quality ZnSe-based crystals are integral to special optical applications, including optical windows, infrared (IR) lasers, and optical wavelength conversion devices. Improved understanding of the mechanisms responsible for crystal quality may have applications for growing crystals of other materials as well.

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