Sunday, 12 February 2017

ALD history and prof. emeritus Markus Pessa (updated)

TEK-lehti wrote on Jan 30, 2017 an excellent article about the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at Tampere University of Technology (TUT), mentioning the very special Finnish researcher and inventor, prof. emeritus Markus Pessa who is also the founder and former leader of ORC. Pessa has also influenced the understanding of the history of atomic layer deposition (ALD) within the Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA). The TEK-lehti article inspired me to write in the ALD History Blog also of Pessa's influence.

Many ALD researchers will recognise M. Pessa from early ALD publications. The first scientific article published in Finland on ALD in 1980 (Ahonen et al.) is co-authored by Pessa, and so is the review article in Journal of Applied Physics in 1986, which has been chosen to define the end year of VPHA. Both articles were featured and described in the recommended reading list of early ALD publications in the VPHA JVSTA focused review, (open access).

Pessa has been further related to two puzzling questions which I have encountered during VPHA.  I believe that both questions have received decent answers.

  1. When I started to work at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in 2004, I soon learned from a colleague who had worked at TUT that there is (/was?) an old ALD reactor displayed labelled as "the world's first ALE reactor". When I first heard this, I admit that I was very surprised. How could this be true? ALE was invented in Espoo by Suntola, after all.    
  2. I have - of course - been curious of when the Finnish and Soviet ALD scientists first met. When during the past few years I presented the question to several long-term scientists in Finland who were active already in 1990, I got always basically the same answer: the first meeting was at the ALE-1 conference in 1990 in Helsinki, where these researchers "just appeared". How come they "just appeared" there?!? How did they find their way to the conference?  
Copy of the cover of book of programme and abstracts, ALE-1 conference, Espoo/Helsinki, Finland, June 13-15, 1990. 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

CU Boulder Today, ALD NanoSolutions, VPHA

CU Boulder Today published on Feb 7, 2017 a nice article describing the history of the company ALD NanoSolutions, a spin-off from the University of Colorado Boulder. ALD NanoSolutions is specialized in atomic layer deposition (ALD) for the coating of particles. Link to article:

Some quotes from the CU Boulder Today article:
  • In 1997, Professor Alan Weimer of chemical and biological engineering heard a campus talk by Professor Steven George of chemistry about a novel process of coating surfaces with the thinnest of materials possible, known as atomic layer deposition (ALD).
  • Within a few years Weimer and George had filed a number of patents on the technology, gaining exclusive rights to a wide range of intellectual property.
  • “This company has executed with focus and pragmatism since we formed it, and now we are moving into high gear commercially,” says Weimer. “And we have what I call a lot of high-end ethics within the company, which is very important to all of us. That is one reason we are all still together after all these years.”
My first recollection of ALD NanoSolutions is from early 2000s, from the time I was a doctoral student at Helsinki University of Technology - nowadays Aalto University - in the Industrial Chemistry group of Prof. Outi Krause during 1999 to 2002. My research concerned particle ALD for catalyst applications. I started in 1998 as a diploma worker at Microchemistry Ltd. (nowadays part of ASM) in a research line which had been started many years earlier in Finland by Tuomo Suntola at Microchemistry Ltd. and the Finnish oil company Neste Oy (for more info, see the "Suntola story" in CVD 2014, details below). At HUT, we were of course curious of this new company: who is behind it, what is the technology, how will it commercialize ALD? 

Photo of Riikka after visiting ALD NanoSolutions March 18, 2014. (I cannot recall who took the photograph upon my request.  I will be to happy to add the name of the photographer here if the person who remembers to have taken the photo, will contact me.) 

Fast forward more than a decade. In 2014, I had a chance to travel to Boulder and visit Prof. Steven George and his group. At this moment, I worked as a Senior Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

About the unique article codes used in VPHA {AuthorYearOptionalindex}

A note about the unique VPHA publication codes, which are given in curly brackets for each article listed in the ALD-history-evolving-file and also in VPHA-reading-overview-file
  • The unique codes are in the form {AuthorYearOptionalindex}, for example {Koltsov1969b}.    
  • The codes are used for quick identification purposes of different articles. They must remain unique and cannot therefore be issued without central coordination. In practice in VPHA, the codes have been managed so far by Yury & Riikka (rather unnoticeably in the background). Questions --> email info@ (remove the space). 
  • In addition to functioning as unique identification in VPHA, the codes enable the writing of large documents with LaTeX  with automatic generation of reference lists with BibTeX
  • As background info: in VPHA, we build upon the list of unique codes used for generating the literature lists of the two ALD review articles published in Journal of Applied Physics (Applied Physics reviews) in 2005 and 2013 (and Puurunen’s thesis before those). If/when we will write another review article from VPHA (Item 10 partly completed in the VPHA Publication Plan), the codes (and a bibtex file in which they are stored) will again serve for generating the literature list and references. 
  • The VPHA participants are requested to avoid using the curly brackets in their comments in the ALD-history-evolving-file for other purposes than these unique publication codes.

Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) - in atmosphere of Openness, Respect, and Trust

Sunday, 5 February 2017

New affiliation, a personal note

Through this personal note in ALD History Blog, I would like to inform the VPHA participants as well as other people of a career change which I am currently going through.

February 1st, I started as associate professor (tenure track), Catalysis Science and Technology at Aalto University. My just-created description in the Aalto people pages describes the current status and the near-future plans (as of Feb 5, 2017):  
Associate professor (tenure track), Catalysis Science and Technology. Strong background and continued interest in Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD); aiming to build research e.g. with microreactors and in situ/operando measurements. "Work-hobby:" history of ALD; interested in open science approaches. Feb-Jul 2017 working 60% at Aalto University and 40% at VTT Technical Reseach Centre of Finland; from Aug 2017 on, full time at Aalto University. Open for new (and old!) collaborations. 
For the next half year, I will work part time (60%, typically Wed-Fri) at Aalto University and part time (40%, typically Mon-Tue) at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The remaining work at VTT concentrates on the lateral high-aspect-ratio test structures (LHAR/PillarHall) in a "TUTL" project financed by Tekes.

As an Aalto University professor, I will continue to coordinate the Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) as before.

Espoo, February 5, 2017
Riikka Puurunen

Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) - in atmosphere of Openness, Respect, and Trust

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Views on Wikipedia related to ALD and VPHA

People of all sorts of backgrounds (including journalists and politicians) use Wikipedia as a quick source to find basic information on a variety of subjects.

The next image shows pageviews analysis for a few pages relevant to ALD and VPHA, taken on January 28, 2017, and showing the statistics for the past twenty days. For example, the page of atomic layer deposition is viewed typically 100 to 200 times per day, while chemical vapor deposition is viewed typically 300 to 700 times per day. There is a pattern related to week days: towards weekend, there are less views. To compare, in ALD History Blog, the typical number of pageviews for an average page is several tens; the most viewed post (travel notes from ALD 2016) has received 297 views all time as of Feb 28, 2017.

I have during VPHA understood how valuable Wikipedia and also Wikimedia Commons are as a sources, and I invite everyone to contribute in continuously improving their information. Non-specialists will appreciate clear and jargon-free language, logical structure of the page, good pictures and relevant references. Review articles should be good as links. All references should be openly available for viewing---regarding scientific articles, this means that they should be not be behind a paywall but be of open access.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

VPHA article featured + most read in JVSTA

With pleasure I can share that the review article from VPHA, "Recommended reading list of early publications on atomic layer deposition—Outcome of the “Virtual Project on the History of ALD" (62 authors), JVSTA 35 (2017) 010801,, has currently a "featured" status in the website of Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology and it is currently no. 1 in the "most read" list. See below for a screen capture from taken on January 8, 2016.

The metrics of the article report that it has been viewed 469 times (see screen capture below). For comparison, the second most viewed article---the excellent atomic layer etching overview by Kanarik et al.---has received 375 views.

Regarding the viewing statistics, I have two questions in mind to JVSTA:

  • I cannot find an explanation in the JVSTA website of the time in which the views are recorded. Does the counting start from the original publication of the article or from the beginning of a month/year?
  • It would be interesting to view the Altmetrics summary of the article. Could an Altmetrics link be added to the articles in the website? As an example, the Altmetrics summary of the ALE-ALD essay can be viewed here.  

Monday, 2 January 2017

Wikipedia List of multiple discoveries updated with ALD

The Wikipedia page List of multiple discoveries has been updated by adding ALD in the list of multiple discoveries in the 20th century. With this addition, the VPHA Publication Plan Item 11 "Updating wikipedia" is completed.

The update consists of the addition of the following text:

The three references mentioned are the three reviews/essays generated in the Virtual Project on the History of ALD:

Monday, 19 December 2016

VPHA status update 19.12.2016

The email below was sent to 76 VPHA co-authors and 40 prospective co-authors. 

From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 19. joulukuuta 2016 9:23
To: info@
Cc: Puurunen Riikka; Sundqvist Jonas
Subject: VPHA status update 19.12.2016

Dear VPHA co-authors and prospective co-authors,

With this general status update, I would like to inform you of the publication of the VPHA review article in JVSTA and update on other recent progress. The previous update was sent on October 30, 2016. Please read more below on the following topics:

1. VPHA JVSTA review published
2. VPHA reading status
3. VPHA's lists on reviews, conferences and theses to be completed
4. Translation of some Molecular Layering papers?
5. Other posts in the ALD History Blog

Wishing everyone happy holidays and the best of luck for the coming year,
Riikka Puurunen, VPHA coordinator

Saturday, 17 December 2016

VPHA JVSTA article on the history of ALD published with Open Access

It is my pleasure to inform that VPHA's article on the recommended reading list of early ALD publications has been published online in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A (JVSTA), in the special ALD issue of January 2017.

  • Title: Recommended reading list of early publications on atomic layer deposition—Outcome of the “Virtual Project on the History of ALD”
  • Authors (62 in total, alphabetical order): Esko Ahvenniemi, Andrew R. Akbashev, Saima Ali, Mikhael Bechelany, Maria Berdova, Stefan Boyadjiev, David C. Cameron, Rong Chen, Mikhail Chubarov, Veronique Cremers, Anjana Devi, Viktor Drozd, Liliya Elnikova, Gloria Gottardi, Kestutis Grigoras, Dennis M. Hausmann, Cheol Seong Hwang, Shih-Hui Jen, Tanja Kallio, Jaana Kanervo, Ivan Khmelnitskiy, Do Han Kim, Lev Klibanov, Yury Koshtyal, A. Outi I. Krause, Jakob Kuhs, Irina Kärkkänen, Marja-Leena Kääriäinen, Tommi Kääriäinen, Luca Lamagna, Adam A. Łapicki, Markku Leskelä, Harri Lipsanen, Jussi Lyytinen, Anatoly Malkov, Anatoly Malygin, Abdelkader Mennad, Christian Militzer, Jyrki Molarius, Małgorzata Norek, Çağla Özgit-Akgün, Mikhail Panov, Henrik Pedersen, Fabien Piallat, Georgi Popov, Riikka L. Puurunen, Geert Rampelberg, Robin H. A. Ras, Erwan Rauwel, Fred Roozeboom, Timo Sajavaara, Hossein Salami, Hele Savin, Nathanaelle Schneider, Thomas E. Seidel, Jonas Sundqvist, Dmitry B. Suyatin, Tobias Törndahl, J. Ruud van Ommen, Claudia Wiemer, Oili M. E. Ylivaara, Oksana Yurkevich
  • Citation: Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A 35 (2017) 010801 (13 pages). 
  • Link:

The main content of the article is the recommended reading list of 22 early ALD publications, created through open voting among the VPHA participants. For each publication, the reference list contains the full author list and the title in English, translated from the original language when necessary. The usual practice of JVSTA would have been to shorten the author list to "et al." from a certain number of author and NOT include the titles; we are grateful for the JVSTA editors for making exceptions and allowing us to expand the article for a complete historical record (you can find our article correspondence here). The article's Introduction contains a description of how VPHA started and notations on some ALD history activities preceeding it.

Hopefully, this article will stimulate people to read some of the original early ALD publications. VPHA is still open for new volunteers to join and to share comments on early ALD publications in the ALD-history-evolving-file--- >300 did not make it to the shortlist of the article. If you would like to volunteer, please contact us through  info@ (delete the space).

Many people have helped VPHA to progress in some way. While we have tried to declare all major contributions in the (longish) Acknowledgement, in addition to those mentioned, numerous people have helped VPHA to progress in various ways. We are grateful for everyone's help, big and small, in the past and in the future: all of it matters.

The article is published with Open Access (license: CC BY 4.0) and can be freely used e.g. for teaching.  The abstract and acknowledgements from the article are copied below for easy reference.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

VPHA correspondence: JVSTA article: 2nd proofs

The email below was sent to 76 VPHA contributors. 

From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 8. joulukuuta 2016 21:54
To: info@
Cc: Puurunen Riikka; Sundqvist Jonas
Subject: VPHA JVSTA article: 2nd proofs

Dear VPHA contributors,

I am happy to tell that upon request, I have received 2nd proofs from AIP of the VPHA JVSTA article. The proofs are sent attached for everyone’s attention. Please note that further new changes are not possible; this is just to double-check that the previous corrections are all made correctly.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

VPHA correspondence: JVSTA article proofs returned

 The email below was sent to 76 VPHA contributors.
From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 3. joulukuuta 2016 22:20
To: info@
Cc: Jonas Sundqvist; Puurunen Riikka
Subject: JVSTA VPHA article proofs returned Dec 3
Dear VPHA contributors,
I have just returned the proofs of the VPHA JVSTA article, please find a copy of the submitted file attached. I think that all issues were solved, except for the request to find many DOIs – these probably don’t exist for the publications in question. Thank you for all who helped with the changes.

Friday, 2 December 2016

VPHA correspondence: JVSTA article proofs corrections

 The email below was sent to 76 recipients.
From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 2. joulukuuta 2016 13:46
To: info@
Cc: Puurunen Riikka; Sundqvist Jonas
Subject: JVSTA VPHA article proofs corrections - pls respond ASAP (DL Sat 18:00 TUC + 2h)
Importance: High
Dear VPHA contributors,
I am happy to tell you that we are so far that we have received the proofs of the JVSTA article have arrived. Please find attached the proofs as well as the instructions received by AIP for correcting the proofs and the copyedited manuscript. 
Some notes of major progress which has occurred since the submitted version:
  • The editorial staff has placed our manuscript in the category of “review articles”. (We have let the journal decide what is the correct category of the article, see the Cover Letter here.)
  • The titles of the cited articles are included in English, as we have requested (translated by the VPHA group, when necessary).  
  • The article will be published with Open Access (Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence).

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Nov 29, 2016: new webpage

November 29 is the date when the first patent on Atomic Layer Epitaxy, currently known as Atomic Layer Deposition, was filed in 1974.

Forty years after filing the first patent, on the same day in 2014, the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Atomic Layer Deposition (ALDCoE) released the FinALD40 exhibition material. The material is still accessible through the and websites.

Two years later, again on the same day, VTT launched a new website: This website is related to the microscopic lateral high-aspect-ratio (LHAR) thin film conformality test structure developed at VTT, also known as "PillarHall" (protected trademark). The original ideas that have resulted in the PillarHall test structures have been created by VTT'ers in the ALDCoE project funded by the Academy of Finland and has already resulted in two scientific publications (details in The research and development work continues with the University of Helsinki ALD group and many other groups worldwide, as well as in a dedicated "TUTL" project funded by Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

"What you can't measure, you can't improve". If you are interested in VTT's conformality test structures, please have a look and find the appropriate contact information at the website

Diced 150 mm silicon wafer with PillarHallTM conformality test chip prototypes. Photo: Riikka Puurunen, VTT, November 16, 2016.

Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) - in atmosphere of Openness, Respect, and Trust

Saturday, 26 November 2016

ALD info in Japan sought

The previous post on the ACSI-conference series brings me back to Japan and ALD. The topic fits Wikipedia having an Asian month in November.)

My feeling is that we are still missing a lot of information of Japanese ALD works in VPHA. (This feeling is based on the information reported in the "ALE essay" and the VPHA manuscript in JVSTA, in press as of Nov 26, 2016.) For example: currently, we have in total 330 PhD-equivalent academic theses listed related to ALD worldwide (see VPHA-ALD-thesis-list). The picture below shows the distribution of theses per country. There are currently none listed from Japan, while I am sure there many academic theses that should be listed. How to get information on them?

The number of PhD-equivalent theses on ALD per country, as listed in VPHA-ALD-thesis-list as of November 26, 2016.

ACSI ALD conference info sought

Some weeks ago, being an opponent in a PhD thesis defence, I had the pleasure to visit professors Tuula and Tapani Pakkanen at the University of Eastern Finland. Many in VPHA may remember Tapani Pakkanen as the person who started quantum chemical calculations on ALD in the early 1980s.

Among other things, we discussed the VPHA ALD history activities. One thing that I learned from the Pakkanens is that in the early 1990s, an ALD conference has been organized in Joensuu, Finland, called ACSI-2. This conference was missing from the VPHA-ALD-conference-list and has since then been added. The full conference name was "Second International Symposium on Atomically Controlled Surfaces and Interfaces". Proceedings were published in Applied Surface Science 75 (1994) 1-363. As this was "ACSI-2", it is obvious that an "ACSI-1" and probably at least "ACSI-3" (and maybe more?) has been organized.

Tuomo Suntola and Riikka Puurunen at Micronova, Espoo, Finland, November 25, 2016. Photo by Mikko Utriainen. 
Yesterday, on November the 25th, Dr. Tuomo Suntola visited VTT Micronova (see the photo). Suntola confirmed that the ACSI conference series was organized around the topic of ALD---which was of course not called ALD at that time. Suntola told furthermore that the ACSI conferences were organized largely on the initiative of Prof. Jun-ichi Nishizawa from Japan (biographical article here), and that at least one of the conferences has been organized in Sendai, Japan. announces to stop

According to announcement published by ALD Pulse in Facebook, 25.11.2016, stops with ALD-activities and thereby becomes part of the colourful history of atomic layer deposition (ALD). became active in Spring 2013. As seen from the screen capture, their vision was to become the Home of the ALD community and collect together varied information regarding ALD: ALD Basics, ALD Equipment suppliers, ALD Chemical suppliers, ALD Coating services, ALD-related equipment, and many other. A description of was included in the FinALD40 exhibition material, accessible through website as well as

Screen capture from on Nov 26, 2016.

The information in the ALD Hall Fame in part triggered the VPHA activities (described in VPHA's article, in press in JVSTA as of Nov 26, 2016). The founder of Annina Titoff helped VPHA to get started by publishing the original "Introduction and invitation to participate" and several announcements thereafter.

I personally would like to thank for its contribution to the ALD community. Their most memorable part from my viewpoint will be the original Youtube interviews produced by aldpulse, e.g. of Suntola, Sundqvist, Barry, Ahonen and Ritala. I very much hope that this material will stay in Youtube after stops.

The best of luck wished for the ALD Pulse Team in their new endeavours!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Early ALD publications with two VPHA comments

Previous post reported early ALD publications with one VPHA comment in ALD-history-evolving-file, according to info collected in the VPHA-reading-overview-fileThis post lists the publications which have two comments, and still would preferably need one comment.

There are 71 publications currently with two comments. Most of the publications are in Russian, while some works remain in German, English, and Finnish, too.

Early ALD publications with one VPHA comment

Previous post reported early ALD publications with no VPHA comments yet in ALD-history-evolving-file, according to info collected in the VPHA-reading-overview-file. This post lists the publications which have one comment, and still would preferably need two comments.

There are 103 of publications with just one comment. Over 90% of the publications are in Russian. The list contains also some items in Bulgarian, English, Finnish, German, and Japanese.  

Early ALD publications with no VPHA comments yet

The VPHA reading & commenting in ALD-history-evolving-file has progressed so that the work is 76% done, according to the info collected in the VPHA-reading-overview-file.

There are still five publications without any comments and they are listed in the following table. Two are in Russian and one in Bulgarian. Regarding two, were we have not been able to confirm the reference info from a copy.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Travel notes: 63rd AVS symposium, Nashville

The AVS 63rd International Symposium and Exhibition was organized November 6-11, 2016, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA (symposium website: I had the pleasure to attend the conference to present a scientific talk on the analysis of ALD/CVD process characteristics using VTT’s recently developed conformality test structures.

My name badge at AVS 63rd Symposium. "Press" stands for ALD History Blog.

This was my first time at an AVS Symposium. Earlier, I have published in the ALD History Blog travel notes from meetings such as ALD Russia 2015 Moscow, Baltic ALD 2015 Tartu, St. Petersburg visit November 2015, HERALD Helsinki meeting May 2016, ALD 2016 Dublin, and Baltic ALD 2016 St. Petersburg. The travel reports are written in the style of photojournalism, from the viewpoint of the on-going Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA). As many of the VPHA volunteers are potential attendants of future AVS symposia, I wanted to write travel notes also from this event, although I did not expect much progress related to the ALD history activities. As it turned out, the event was also interesting from the point of view of the VPHA.