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This paper is the first part of a two-part review of recent work on current instabilities and related properties of germanium in high electric fields. In this part we discuss the general subject of high field transport in n-Ge with emphasis on the concept of saturated drift velocity. The oscillations which result from bulk negative differential conductivity (BNDC) in  and  directions at low temperatures are discussed and related to the saturation effects. A discussion of theoretical and experimental evidence with regard to the BNDC effects is presented. Finally, the anisotropy of the high-field conductivity is discussed and related to the Erlbach instability.
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