Wednesday 9 December 2015

Wikipedia, Suntola, forefront of science and Dynamic Universe

In a previous post, ALD in Wikipedia - status and surprises, I described the results of exploring ALD-related pages in Wikipedia. Today, I want to continue around the same Wikipedia topic, by sharing the story of how I got to know Dr. Tuomo Suntola, the Finnish inventor of ALD. This I do to shed light on the surprising content of his Wikipedia page, namely the fact that ALD is not mentioned there at all.

I first met Tuomo Suntola when I was a Master's student (Diplomityöntekijä, in Finnish) at the Microchemistry company, Finland. The year was 1998. Suntola was a research fellow at Neste, which then owned Microchemistry (details in the Ref. 1, ALE-ALD essay"). My thesis was about AlN on porous supports, a topic that I would continue until doctoral thesis in 2002, although I did not know that at that time yet.

I remember Suntola from those early days from three things.

1. "How is it going at the forefront of science?" This is how Suntola used to greet us young researchers at informal occasions, for example when joining the company at lunch. This for me meant always the begin of an interesting chat, a unique opportunity to discuss with the inventor of Atomic Layer Epitaxy - this term, originally created by Suntola, was then still in use at Microchemistry.

2. Dynamic Universe. This is how Suntola calls his theory with which he challenges the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein. It was sometime in the end of 1990s when Suntola first gave me a copy of his book where he explains his Dynamic Universe concept. I got a revised edition later, I have them both still somewhere in my bookshelf. Suntola believes that his theory can explain measurements more accurately and through more understandable equations that Einstein's theory does. Suntola himself considers, as I have understood, Dynamic Universe as a more important achievement than inventing and industrializing ALD.

3. Saturation. I gave my required presentation of Master's thesis at Microchemistry (then at Kutojantie, Espoo), and Suntola was among the audience. (I think to remember that there were maybe ten, twenty people present in total.) After the presentation, there was time for questions. Maybe there were many, but until this day, I remember only one. Actually, this was not so much a question, but more of a correction, on how I explained the basics of ALD. I had explained that ALD is based on sequential, separated repeated reactions of at least two gasesous compounds on a solid substrate (or something like this). Suntola noted that I had forgotten to mention an important condition: saturation of the reactions. I have never forgotten to mention saturation again, I think.

VPHA is at the moment, no doubt, at the forefront of science. So is Wikipedia --- however, related to related to ALD it is currently not quite up to date (see the earlier blog post).

One of the activities in Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) is to update Wikipedia; this is item #11 in our Publication Plan. There are a few pages listed that should be updated: Atomic Layer Deposition, Atomic Layer Epitaxy, multiple independent discoveries. In my opinion, Wikipedia page of Tuomo Suntola has to be added to the list. Dynamic Universe may be important, but ALD should definitely be mentioned there, too.

If you'd like to join the VPHA Wikipedia update effort, which is now starting, please contact Jonas Sundqvist and Angel Yanguas-Gil, who have volunteered to lead these activities. Post by Jonas Sundqvist in BALD Engineering on the topic, with contact info:

[1] "ALE-ALD essay": R. L. Puurunen, "A short history of Atomic LayerDeposition: Tuomo Suntola's Atomic Layer Epitaxy", Chemical Vapor Deposition 20 (2014) 332-344, doi: 10.1002/cvde.201402012. Open Access.

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

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