Thursday, 25 May 2017

Where were you when I asked that question?

This post continues on an earlier post describing the ALD history activities before VPHA.

Triggered by events in the NetherlandsFinland and latest Latvia and the way that the history of ALD has been presented in them, I am finally writing a post which has been forming in the back of my mind for several months.

During the years, it has happened to me repeatedly that people start telling me their exact location "when you asked that question". They always refer to the ALD 2004 conference, "A joint American Vacuum Society ALD and Baltic ALD conference Celebrating 30 years of ALD", Helsinki, Finland, August 16-18, 2014. The conference pages were until quite recently still available at the address; now they seem to have disappeared. It should still be possible to obtain the abstract book here.

As the title says, the conference was celebrating thirty years from the invention of ALD in Finland in 2004. Dr. Tuomo Suntola was deservedly one of the invited speakers. His presentation is still available through his webpage, a link can be found also in the VPHA list of ALD history publications.

When the conference preparations started, I was a postdoctoral fellow at IMEC, Belgium. I of course wanted to participate in the conference, now that this big international event would arrive in Finland. I submitted several abstracts of my works (and got one talk + posters).

At IMEC, I had started to look into the history of ALD, as described in detail earlier here. I was well aware that ALD has not only been invented in Finland but also in USSR, and that the USSR work pre-dates that made in Finland. Seeing the title of the conference, "Celebrating 30 years of ALD", I was not quite sure what to think of it. My feeling was that I cannot be the only one who knows that this title is not correct. Don't they know, or don't they want to know?

Supporting Letters for Millennium Technology Prize 2018 nomination

updated 21.7.2017
Supporting Letters are sought for the Millennium Technology Prize 2018 nomination for ALD and Tuomo Suntola, especially to help describe the societal impact of ALD.

Since the day I promised to nominate atomic layer deposition and Tuomo Suntola for Millennium Technology Prize 2018, I have received positive feedback from many people and organizations, as well as questions on how one can support the nomination. Can Supporting Letters be prepared by individual persons or organizations? How does one prepare a Supporting Letter?

I try to answer all questions in this ALD History Blog post.

Scheme showing how a Supporting Letter could look like. 

HERALD COST MP1402 event in Riika (Riga), Latvia

On Monday May 22nd, I visited Riika (Riga), Latvia, giving an invited talk at an event called "ALD nanotechnology: advances, prospects and applications" organized within the framework of the HERALD COST action MP1402 ( The programme of the event, as provided by the organizers in advance, is copied at the end of this post.  

My presentation was entitled "On the history and future of ALD: VPHA, conformality analysis, mechanisms". The presentation explained the Virtual Project on the History of ALD (more volunteers are still welcome); introduced the PillarHall ALD conformality test structures developed at VTT (with a modelling example, too!) where we welcome more proof-of-concept partners; and pointed out the existing different views and a need to understand better the "model ALD process" trimethylaluminium-water. The presentation was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Sven Lindfors (1945-2017). At the end, I called for support letters to nominate Suntola and ALD for the Millennium Technology Prize 2018 (more to come on this in another post later). 

The presentation slides can be viewed in SlideShare. Additionally, Aalto University uses a tool called Panopto, with I tried, and with which I very easily could record my talk for later reference. A tool to be used in the future, too! The Panopto record can be viewed here.     

Some photos related to the event/this post below.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sven Lindfors (1945-2017) in memoriam

Sven Lindfors, "Svenkka", pioneer of ALD, in memoriam

Sven Lindfors, "Svenkka", a core pioneer of an atomic layer deposition (ALD), born November 25, 1945, passed away April 15, 2017 in Espoo, Finland. An obituary written by Tuomo Suntola and coworkers was published in the main Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat today.  

I had the honour to cross paths with Sven Lindfors several times during our careers, first as a young master's thesis worker at Microchemistry Ltd. (1998) and later (2004-) as a research scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. At VTT in 2004, it was my pleasant task to take into use the ALD reactor that VTT had bought from Sven Lindfors's company Picosun. The reactor was the first of its kind and was installed in the Micronova clean room, where it is still used, along with newer reactors installed later. Back at that time, Picosun had two employees. Today, thirteen years later, Picosun personnel counts over forty and Picosun itself has become a global brand.

Sven Lindfors was a visionary, composed of sunshine and thunder. As I knew Svenkka, for him, no need related to ALD reactors ever passed unsolved.