Sunday, 11 November 2018

Virtual issue of Chemistry of Materials in Honor of Professor Markku Leskelä

A "virtual issue" - an electronic collection of articles centered on a topic - was published by Chemistry of Materials in July 2018 to celebrate the influential career of professor Markku Leskelä at the verge of his retirement. The virtual issue was published just in time for the ALD 2018 conference, so the conference could celebrate at the same time the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize for Dr. Tuomo Suntola as well as the virtual issue of Prof Leskelä. 

The full virtual issue can be accessed through: It contains scientific articles published by Leskelä, as well as scientific articles influenced by Leskelä's works, in different journals by ACS. 

A related editorial by his close colleague and first student, Prof. Mikko Ritala and by Chem. Mater. editors is accessible at:, entitled "In Honor of Professor Markku Leskelä." 

Saturday, 28 July 2018

VPHA website updated with ECS Transactions article info

The VPHA website,, has been on July 28, 2018 updated with info of the ECS Transactions article in press:
  • Proceedings: R. L. Puurunen, "Learnings from an Open Science Effort: Virtual Project on the History of ALD", ECS Transactions, in press (2018). Open access preprint, DOI: 10.1149/

As the international ALD 2018 conference in Korea starts on July 29, 2018, it is good to spread the message that VPHA is still on-going and more volunteers are welcome to join. As communicated in the VPHA status update in May 2018, the plan is to produce jointly one more brief concluding review article from within VPHA. (Previous publications are listed in the Publication Plan here; the review now in question belongs to Item 10.) The articles produced earlier from within VPHA have become impactful within the field of ALD what comes to citations and other attention (see e.g. Altmetrics for the "ALE essay"). The last review is expected to be impactful, too.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

VPHA status update 22.7.2018 - ECS Transactions info

The message below was sent to 76 VPHA contributors and 56 prospective contributors.

From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 22 July 2018 22:31
To: info @
Cc: Puurunen Riikka; jonas.sundqvist@ <>
Subject: VPHA status update 22.7.2018 - ECS Transactions info

Dear current and prospective VPHA contributors,

This VPHA update shares information on an ECS Transactions article related to an invited talk at the ECS fall symposium. The previous VPHA status update was sent on May 28, 2018. All VPHA status updates published in the ALD History Blog can be viewed in this link.

Best regards,
Riikka Puurunen, voluntary VPHA coordinator

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The question that started the Virtual Project on the History of ALD

I noticed that the discussion chain, which initiated the Virtual Project on the History of ALD, is still accessible in LinkedIn. Here, I copy the first post, which was a question by myself. Markedly, there in total 26 items of discussion at the moment (and one "like"). To my knowledge, the post was written on May 6, 2013. Screen capture of the post, full copy of the text below. (I was not a professor at Aalto University then, but a senior researcher at VTT.) Link to the discussion chain, which is still open:

Monday, 28 May 2018

VPHA status update 28.5.2018 - 2018 Millennium Technology Prize and VPHA's next steps

The message below was sent to 76 VPHA contributors and 54 prospective contributors.  
From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 28. toukokuuta 2018 16:31
To: info
Cc: Puurunen Riikka <>; Jonas Sundqvist <>
Subject: VPHA status update 28.5.2018 - 2018 Millennium Technology Prize and VPHA's next steps

Dear VPHA contributors and prospective contributors,

This is the first status update of the Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) in year 2018 - earlier updates can be found in this link.

This update shares information on the following topics:

* The 2018 Millennium Technology Prize to Dr. Tuomo Suntola
* Words of thank to the community by Dr. Tuomo Suntola
* Puurunen’s invited talk at the ECS fall 2018 ALD symposium
* VPHA’s next step

With best regards,
Riikka Puurunen, VPHA’s voluntary coordinator

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Dr. Suntola thanks the community for support and shares honor for the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize

Upon request, I transmit two messages from Dr. Tuomo Suntola, the awardee of the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize, to the ALD community.

First, Dr. Tuomo Suntola, who has had a busy week after receiving the prize on May 22, 2018, would like to thank the community for the broad support for the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize. This support, seen as forty supporting letters accompanying the nomination letter, has evidently had a significant role in strengthening the nomination. It was the pleasure and honour of the undersigned to spread information of the coming nomination at conferences in 2017 and to collect the supporting letters from esteemed scientists and technologists from various organizations around the world. In the words of Dr. Suntola in his speech at the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize ceremony:

” …  also, my sincere thanks go to the materials research and semiconductor processing community for the broad support behind the nomination.”

Second, Dr. Tuomo Suntola wishes that the prize will be experienced as credit for all actors in the field. Again, from his speech at the ceremony:

” … In the long run, I like to share the honor of the Millennium prize with all my colleagues having worked with me for the technology, the companies hosting and financing the development, and the co-operating universities and funding organizations supported the work. I like to thank all parties for the confidence and patience in getting through times when the goal looked distant. Finally, my special thanks go to the thousands of scientists and engineers who, finally, have made the technology a global success and an important part of our everyday life.”

It is an honour for myself and for the ALD History Blog as publication platform to transmit these messages from Dr. Tuomo Suntola to the community.

Espoo, Finland, May 27, 2018,
Riikka Puurunen
Associate Professor, Catalysis Science and Technology, Aalto University
Voluntary coordinator of the Virtual Project on the History of ALD

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

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Congratulations Dr. Tuomo Suntola for the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize!

Dr. Tuomo Suntola has been awarded the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize for the Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) innovation. Warmest congratulations!   

In the view of the undersigned, Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA, has been crucial for realizing the prize this year. Drafting the nomination letter was a natural continuation of the VPHA ALD history activities. The scientific publications created in VPHA describe the history of ALD in a balanced way and thus directly supported the prize. Wikipedia updates have been important in spreading the information beyond the immediate scientific ALD community. Thank you to all who have been involved in these voluntary works and for the numerous supporting letters provided!
  • List of three scientific articles on the history of ALD, created within ALD, below.
  • A longer list of ALD-history-related publications is available at
  • Previous ALD History Blog posts related to the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize here.
  • Some photos of the events on May 22 and 23 at the end of the post. 

Dr. Tuomo Suntola deserves the prize extremely well for his breakthrough pioneering accomplishments in ALD technology. Suntola has always supported the ALD history activities by the undersigned; likewise, it has been great to feel the widespread support in the international ALD community for the prize to Suntola. I hope that the prize can still further unite the ALD community and spread understanding of this enabling "hidden technology" to the general public.

Congratulations Tuomo Suntola; congratulations the rest of us in the ALD community; let us enjoy this moment!

Espoo, Finland, May 23, 2018
Riikka Puurunen, voluntary coordinator of VPHA, associate professor Catalysis Science and Technology, Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering

Scientific articles created within the VPHA: 

  • Review article: “Recommended reading list of early publications on atomic layer deposition—Outcome of the “Virtual Project on the History of ALD””, 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, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A 35 (2017) 010801 (13 pages). Open access. 
  • Essay by A. A. Malygin, V. E. Drozd, A. A. Malkov, V. M. Smirnov, "From V. B. Aleskovskii’s "Framework" Hypothesis to the Method of Molecular Layering/Atomic Layer Deposition", Chemical Vapor Deposition 21 (2015) 216-240. doi: 10.1002/cvde.201502013
  • Essay by R. L. Puurunen, "A short history of Atomic Layer Deposition: Tuomo Suntola's Atomic Layer Epitaxy", Chemical Vapor Deposition 20 (2014) 332-344, doi: 10.1002/cvde.201402012. Open Access. Full essay.

Some photos from the Millennium Technology Prize events May 22 and 23, 2018

Waiting for the award ceremony to begin, May 22, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki. Photo by Mari Lundström.

The 2018 Millennium Technology Prize was handed to Dr. Tuomo Suntola by Mr. Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland. Also on stage: Chairperson of the Technology Academy Finland, Professor Marja Makarow. May 22, 2018, photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Gala dinner, May 22, 2018. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Happy at the event: Prof. em. Outi Krause, Dr. Tuomo Suntola, Prof. Riikka Puurunen. May 22, 2018, photo provided by the Millennium Technology Prize organization.  

The public talk of the 2018 Millennium Technology Prize winner Tuomo Suntola was given at Aalto University. May 23, 2018, photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Tuomo Suntola starting his public talk at Aalto University, May 23, at nine. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Conformality, the ability to coat a 3-D object with a uniform film, is key to ALD's success. May 23, 2018, Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Where, then, is ALD used? Tuomo Suntola explains an example. May 23, 2018, Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Tuomo Suntola illustrating trends in scientific and patenting activity in ALD. May 23, 2018, Photo by Riikka Puurunen
Question session after the Millennium Talks on May 23, Aalto University. Päivi Törmä and Tuomo Suntola. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

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

Friday, 22 December 2017

Season's greetings from Aalto University

Greetings were sent to all VPHA contributors (76) and prospective contributors (53). More people are still welcome to join VPHA.

Dear VPHA contributors and prospective contributors,

With this Aalto University electronic card, I wish you all happy holiday season and a prosperous 2018.

I have been slower in communicating in the last months about VPHA progress than I thought - this is because of the many duties and things to learn as a new professor and a group leader. I am still aiming for a final review article to be made from within VPHA. For this, some reading is probably still needed, updating information on the theses & conferences, sorting out data to create final tables. Also, we should discuss and decide how to archive the ALD-history-evolving-file after VPHA has ended. Expect more communication on this in the first months of 2018.

Best regards,
Riikka Puurunen, VPHA coordinator

Aalto University, professor, Catalysis Science and Technology

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

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Story of Atomic Layer Deposition by Sven Lindfors, from Picosun newsletter December 2008

”I borrowed a bottle of hydrogen sulfide and, suddenly, there was a glowing golden growth covering the glass tube. We´d cracked it: this was the theory of advanced Atomic Layer Epitaxy taking physical form in front of my eyes.” 

"Story of Atomic Layer Deposition by Sven Lindfors, Chief Technology Officer and a Member of the Board of Directors of Picosun," initially published in the Picosun newsletter December 2008. The Picosun newsletter is no longer online and the story is republished in the ALD History Blog with the kind permission by Picosun Oy. Earlier related posts were "Sven Lindfors (1945-2017) in memoriam" and "Remembering Sven Lindfors - Svenin muistolle, by Tuomo Suntola". 

Screen capture from Picosun News, December 2008. With permission by Picosun. 

“We had numerous unsuccessful test runs behind us. Dr Tuomo Suntola knew that in order to proceed, we needed to advance from using pure chemical elements to an exchange reaction based on carrier gases and sulphides,” says Sven Lindfors, at the time working as a key technician for Dr Suntola’s team.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Awards granted in relation with ALD - help to complete the list?

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am in the process of writing a Millennium Technology Prize nomination document for ALD and Tuomo Suntola. Supporting letters for the nomination are welcome from all over the world. At the time of writing this text, I have received five such letters. I hope that altogether we can collect  20-30 supporting letters - everyone's contribution is welcome.

About the nomination. It came to my mind that it might be worth listing to the nomination document the awards that have been granted worldwide to ALD so far. Below is my current list and some questions related to two possible additions.

Do you have another award in mind that someone has received anywhere in the world, from some recognized organization, which could be added to the list? If you have suggestions (need to be backed up by a document available in the internet), please leave a comment or contact me at

Awards so far which I am aware of - probably an incomplete list:

The two award where I am thinking if they can go to the list are the following. Opinions welcome.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Prof Steven George receives major AVS award for ALD

Professor Steven George from University of Colorado Boulder receives the John A. Thornton memorial award and lecture 2017 by AVS for "for seminal contributions to understanding, development and applications of atomic layer deposition". More on the award:

Steven George is one of those people who have dedicated a major part of their career for developing ALD. In addition to having led a world-leading university research group on ALD for about two decades, he is also a co-founder of ALD Nanosolutions (ALD History Blog posts here) and has authored for example the world's most cited review article on ALD in Chemical Reviews, 2010 (mentioned also in the ALD History Blog). In 2013, Steven George received the ALD Innovation award at the international AVS ALD conference (more on the 2016 award here).

Steven George will deliver the John A Thornton memorial lecture entitled " Atomic Layer Deposition: Highlights from the Last 25 Years" at the AVS 64 meeting on October 31, 2017. More details available via --> Program/Scheduler.

Congratulations to Prof. George!

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

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Remembering Sven Lindfors - Svenin muistolle, by Tuomo Suntola

This post continues upon a previous post, Sven Lindfors (1945-2017) in memoriam, by sharing the words of Tuomo Suntola at the funeral of Sven Lindfors on June 2, 2017. The words (in Finnish) are published with permission by Tuomo Suntola.

Sven Lindforsille 2.6.2017

- Osanottoni Svenin omaisille ja läheisille

Sunday, 4 June 2017

VPHA status update 4.6.2017 - Millennium Prize, Lindfors, HERALD Riga, VPHA's future

The status update copied below was sent to 76 current and 47 prospective VPHA contributors. 

From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 04 June 2017 09:10
Subject: VPHA status update June 2017 - Millennium Prize support, Lindfors in memoriam, HERALD Riga, future of VPHA

Dear current and prospective VPHA contributors,

This is the second update of the Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) in year 2017. The previous VPHA status update was set on March 22, 2017, link here.

This update shares information on the following topics:

  1. Millennium Technology Prize 2018 nomination - supporting letters welcome
  2. Mr. Sven Lindfors in memoriam
  3. Other posts
  4. Future activities in VPHA

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.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Millennium Prize 2018 nominations now open - DL July 31

If you would like to join me to nominate Suntola for the Millennium Technology Prize, please contact - instructions at the end of the post. 

The nomination period for 2018 Millennium Technology Prize, given by Technology Academy of Finland, has opened on April 3, 2017. The Call for nominations can be found here: Everyone can nominate candidates.

The nomination instructions, as copied from the page are:

  • The nomination should include a Nomination Letter with a concise description of the cited innovation and the underlying technology, an assessment of the present and future impact of the innovation, as well as identification of the role of each nominee in the innovation process.
  • A concise separate CV must be supplied for each nominee.
  • All nomination material must be presented in English.
  • Please note that self-nomination is not allowed.

The general principles of the Millennium Technology Prize, as copied from the page, are:
  • Awarded to groundbreaking technological innovations that enhance the quality of people’s lives in a sustainable manner.
  • The innovations have been applied in practice and are delivering extensive change now and in the future.
  • The innovations stimulate further cutting edge research and development in science and technology.
I think that atomic layer deposition (ALD) easily fulfills all the listed general principles.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

VPHA status update 22.3.2017

The status update below was sent to 76 VPHA contributors and 46 prospective contributors. To register to get the next updates, please email info@
Begin forwarded message:

From: Puurunen Riikka < >
Subject: VPHA status update 22.3.2017
Date: 22 March 2017 at 21:37:12 GMT+2
Cc: Puurunen Riikka < >, Sundqvist Jonas < >

Dear current and prospective VPHA contributors,

This is the first VPHA status update in year 2017. For VPHA, this year has started with significant visibility: the review article published in JVSTA was the most read of all articles published in JVSTA. The previous VPHA status update was published on December 19, 2016. This update discusses the following topics:

  1. ALD history review article(s) in JVSTA
  2. Boulder & NanoSolutions & particle ALD -related ALD History Blog post + Weimer's guest post
  3. About the earlier ALD history activities + about VPHA's future
  4. Recent VPHA-related Wikipedia updates
  5. New affiliation by Puurunen (professor, Aalto University)
  6. Other posts in ALD History Blog (Pessa; ethics; PillarHall)

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

OT: Communication to VPHA participants on conformality analysis survey

The VPHA off-topic (OT) communication below was sent to 76 VPHA co-authors and 47 prospective co-authors. 

From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 15. maaliskuuta 2017 19:05
To: Puurunen Riikka < >
Cc: Utriainen Mikko < >
Subject: Conformality analysis survey link to VPHA participants

Dear VPHA co-authors and prospective co-authors,

This email is not related to VPHA but to lateral high-aspect-ratio test structures created to analyse the conformality of films made by ALD and other methods. I hope that you do not mind receiving this “off-topic” message sent to all VPHA participants. 

Some of you know that I have been recently working on the topic of conformality analysis of ALD films. Currently, we continue to work on it at VTT in a project funded by Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. The recipient list has many people knowledgeable of the subject.