For application to active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs), a low temperature (< 600 °C) process for the production of polycrystalline silicon is required to permit the use of inexpensive glass substrates. This would allow the integration of drive electronics onto the display panel. Current low temperature processes include excimer laser annealing, which requires expensive equipment, and solid phase crystallization, which requires high temperatures. It is known that by adding small amounts of metals such as nickel to the amorphous silicon the solid phase crystallization temperature can be significantly reduced. The rate of this solid phase metal induced crystallization is increased in the presence of an electric field. Previous work on field aided crystallization has reported crystal growth that either proceeds towards the positive terminal or is independent of the direction of the electric field. In this work, extensive investigation has consistently revealed directional crystallization, from the positive to the negative terminal, of amorphous silicon thin films during heat treatment in the presence of an electric field. This is the first time that this phenomenon has been reported. Models have been proposed for metal induced crystallization with and without an applied electric field in which a reaction between Ni and Si to produce NiSi is the rate-limiting step. The crystallization rate is increased in the presence of an electric field through the drift of positive Ni ions.