Frederick Schmid


Fred received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Lafayette College, PA, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a materials option from Northeastern University, MA.  He invented the Heat Exchanger Method (HEM) in November, 1968 at the Army Research Center, Watertown, MA to grow large diameter high quality sapphire by directional solidification.  Based on this breakthrough, he founded Crystal Systems, Inc. in 1971 to commercialize HEM crystal growth technology based on the ability to grow large high quality sapphire and to adapt the technology to grow square single crystal silicon from a small seed crystal for solar energy and effecting slicing with its FAST slicing technology.

He commercialized HEM for growth of large, high-quality sapphire crystals, and adapted the HEM process for growth of silicon for photovoltaics and growth of Ti:sapphire crystals for high power high speed laser applications.  

To complement crystal growth, he developed a multiwire slicing technology using diamond plated on wire, the Fixed Abrasive Slicing Technology (FAST), to more effectively slice silicon and other hard materials.  

In addition to commercializing HEM for growth of large high quality sapphire, he has directed R&D to grow silicon at lower cost with HEM for solar energy with photovoltaics.  To reduce silicon wafer costs, he developed the Fixed Abrasive Slicing Technology (FAST).  The silicon growth technology was commercialized and licensed to become the dominant technology for photovoltaics for producing silicon for solar energy applications.     

Fred, realizing he is an innovator and does not enjoy the entrepreneurial phase, hired an entrepreneurial team to run the company, which he sold in 2010 to GT Advanced Technology.  He started Crystal Systems Innovations, LLC, in 2014,where he continues his innovative work to advancing silicon crystal growth for photovoltaics, advancing sapphire growth for making blue LED’s, and development of large-scale FAST technology for more effective slicing hard ceramic materials like sapphire, silicon and other hard ceramic materials. 


  • The Influence of Material Properties on Crystal Growth Parameters, Schmid F. (2017 in prep.)
  • Vapor mediated reactions during sapphire crystal growth in a graphite furnace. (2016) Schmid, F. and Joyce D. , 25th AACGE Western Section Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy, June 12-15 2016, Stanford Sierra Camp, Fallen Leaf, CA  USA.
  • Reactions in the Al-O-Mo-C system in Crystal Growth Furnaces.  Schmid F., and Joyce D, (2017 in prep.)