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The status of melt growth techniques for preparing large-area Si and GaAs bulk substrates for microelectronic devices is reviewed. The Czochralski crystal growth process, which yields large diameter, doped single crystals by pulling from a hot crucible-contained melt, has gained widespread acceptance by silicon IC manufacturers. In a modified form, this process has also been applied to several compound semiconductors and commercial liquid encapsulated Czochralski crystal pullers are currently available for producing large diameter GaAs crystals. Innovative approaches aimed at improving compositional purity, structural perfection and uniformity in these important electronic materials are discussed. New device opportunities afforded by improvements in basic materials parameters are illustrated by (i) the role of residual impurities in infrared focal plane arrays based on extrinsically-doped silicon, (ii) the importance of oxygen and oxygen-related defects in LSI silicon processing, and (iii) the current progress in monolithic microwave GaAs IC processing technology.