Stranski, Krastanov, and Kaischew, and their influence on the founding of crystal growth theory
A reconsideration of the events and people associated with the birth of modern crystal growth theory is presented. The foundation of the new theory was enabled by validation of Gibbs and Volmer's thermodynamic theory with the new molecular-kinetic theory. For the first time it became possible to rigorously explain crystal growth at the atomic level. The new two-dimensional growth model opened the door to understanding the mechanisms of self-assembly, crystal defect formation, and nano-structures. Molecular-kinetic theory eventually embraced a second major tenet based on the model of spiral growth at dislocations. All of these initial discoveries occurred between 1927 and 1949, a time when the world was being torn apart by war. This article recounts some thoughts and actions of three of the most illustrious founders of crystal growth theory.