Sunday, 3 January 2016

Baltic ALD 2015, Tartu: travel notes by Riikka Puurunen

The 13th International Baltic Conference on Atomic Layer Deposition, Baltic ALD 2015 was organised in Tartu, Estonia, September 28-29, 2015. Conference chairs were Prof. Jaan Aarik and Dr. Kaupo Kukli. Conference website: http://www.bald2015.ee/. Right after the conference, on September 30, 2015, there was the yearly meeting day of the HERALD COST network on ALD (http://www.european-ald.net/).

I have not visited Tartu before, and it was very interesting to attend this Baltic ALD conference in the historical city of Tartu, where the first report of ALD (then, ALE) is from year 1983. This post in the ALD History Blog finally shares my travel notes from Baltic ALD, both as text and photos. BALD Engineering collected a "photo show" during the event, which can be found here. In Twitter, post and pictures from Baltic ALD conferences can be found back with hashtag #BalticALD.

Colours, colours! The Baltic ALD 2015 conference was organized at the Physicum building of Tartu University. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

According to the statistics shown by the conference chair Aarik in the opening words, there were 112 participants present from 20 countries. The highest number of participants came from Finland (35), then from Estonia (19) and from Germany (13). There were participants also from Spain, Great Britain, France, Norway, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Slovakia, USA, Austria, Belgium, Czech, Ireland and Turkey. As listed at the conference website, invited speakers were: Markku Leskelä (University of Helsinki, Finland), Maarit Karppinen (Aalto University, Finland), Nicola Pinna (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany), Christophe Detavernier (University of Gent, Belgium), Massimo Tallarida (ALBA Synchrotron Light Source, Spain), Sylwia Gieraltowska (Institute of Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences; Poland), and Karol Fröhlich (Institute of Electrical Engineering, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia). From VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, there were two oral presentations and some posters. The social programme included a get-together event, conference dinner, and a walking city tour.

The conference was organized right after the historical ALD Russia 2015 workshop in Moscow-Dolgoprudny. To my knowledge, only two persons who attended both events, I was one of those two "lucky ones". My travel report from ALD Russia was originally published 25.9.2015 (before Baltic ALDS, thus) as text through BALD Engineering and later (19.11.2015) updated with photos in the ALD History Blog

January 3, 2016, in Espoo, Finland
Riikka Puurunen


The trip started from Helsinki-Vantaa airport, on September 27, 2015. When I arrived, the gate was still empty. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Soon, we had a bus full of ALD experts. Apparently, many people arriving from elsewhere in Europe and in USA, took the same connecting flight to Tartu. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

Up in the air, with view on Helsinki centre, at the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Somewhat more than fifty kilometers to the south, we saw the shore of Estonia, at the southern side of the Gulf of Finland. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Estonia from the air: fields, woods, towns. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

Baltic ALD 2015 visitors arrived at the Tartu airport, waiting a while before getting a ride to Tartu centre. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Get-together event was organized at the Hansa Hoov. This figure was welcoming visitors at the side of the building. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

Abstracts book of Baltic ALD 2015. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Conference bag from Baltic ALD 2015. Borrowing the words of Jonas Sundqvist, from Twitter: "Must be the best looking bag ever in the history of ALD!" Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Arriving at the conference venue. The building looks old and rusty, but it was actually brand new and the rusty look was deliberate. In the photo: Hannele Heikkinen from VTT and Markku Leskelä from the University of Helsinki. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

The lecture hall was brand new and fully equipped with new technology. This photo was taken just after our arrival. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Posters were hung at the corridors and in coffee rooms. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

VTT's poster is up! Posing: the first author, Hannele Heikkinen. Photo by the last author, Riikka Puurunen.

Conference chair, Prof. Jaan Aarik opened the meeting. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

In Aarik's opening words, some history was shared on how Baltic ALD conferences have begun initially as symposia between Teknillinen Korkeakoulu and Tartu Ülikooli. The seeds were initiated at the very first meeting of Finnish and Estonian ALD scientists at the first international ALE conference in Espoo/Helsinki, 1990, which was chaired by Prof. Lauri Niinistö. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Supporting the on-going history activities around ALD, the Baltic ALD organizers gave out copies of the programme and abstracts of the 2nd TKK -  TÜ ALE symposium, organized in Tartu in 1993. Edited by: J. Aarik and A. Jaek, ISBN 9985-56-008-6. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

In Aarik's opening words, he shared the statistics of the participants of the conference: 112 people had registered from 20 countries. Top-3 countries were Finland, Estonia and Germany. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

The opening talk, invited lecture, was given by Prof. Markku Leskelä from the University of Helsinki. The remaining time was visible to everyone all the time, also to the speaker in a separate display. Probably partly due to this technical help, the talks at the conference remained in general unusually well in schedule. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

"Recent challenges" is a title that goes well through the years, as humorously emphasized by Leskelä. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Simon Elliott gave an interesting talk on theoretical modelling. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Riikka Puurunen (that's me) giving a talk on the mechanical properties of ALD films. Photo by Christoff Hoshbach, through the  BALD Engineering photo show. 


After the lectures and poster session, we had an excursion to the laboratories of the Institute of Physics, University of Tartu. First, we first saw --- to my surprise --- Tero Pilvi and a brand new Picosun ALD reactor! Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Later in the tour, we saw more historical things. This ALD reactor was presented by Lauri Aarik and it is the oldest ALD reactor still in use in Tartu, 28 years of age at the moment of showing it --- must have been built in 1987, then. According to information by Jaan Aarik, shared later, that this reactor was made by Aarik and Aleks Aidla. This is not the first ALD reactor built in Tartu, although it does contain some parts of the oldest ALD reactor. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Conference dinner at the AHHAA science centre (Sadama 1, Tartu) was very nice, with live music and many attractions. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

The AHHAA science centre dinner had a pyro show included. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

When travelling, I enjoy trying to read local newspapers. Postimees was available at the hotel in the morning. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

Exhibitors at BALD conference in the Physicum building. Panorama photo with mobile phone by Riikka Puurunen.

Matti Putkonen from VTT gave a talk on recent results regarding the antimicrobial properties of ALD films. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

VPHA co-authors Maria Berdova and Riikka Puurunen in front of the organizational VPHA poster at Baltic ALD 2015. Photo from Riikka Puurunen's collection (thanks for a bypasser for taking the photo).

After the conference, a guided walking tour was organised in the city centre of Tartu. Here, we have just arrived from the conference venue to the centre by conference bus. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

The city tour passed the Barclay square with the historical Hotel Barclay, where I had the pleasure of staying. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

City tour ended in front of the Tartu the city hall at Raekoja Plats, next to the statue of kissing students. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

This panel tells more about the city hall - I took the next day, when passing the plain hall again. Note the sign of free wifi: Estonia is world-leading in digital services. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

After the city tour, many of us had dinner at Püssirohukelder, a historical restaurant in a former gun powder cellar. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

Cost action leader Simon Elliot opened the HERALD day on September 30, 2015. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.


During the HERALD day, as part of the programme, the participants could introduce themselves in short talks, with the self-written HERALD webpage personal descriptions in the background. Here, Tomi Iivonen from the University of Helsinki introduces himself. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.  

At HERALD day, the participants could also bring posters to introduce themselves. Here are posters by VTT and ALDCoE. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Lotte from Gadgetville (Leiutajaiteküla Lotte, Keksijäkylän Lotta) is a gift of Estonia to the children of the world. I was lucky to find one soft doll from a play store in Kaubamaja. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

In the evening, there were several huge flocks of birds - jackdaws, as I understand - flying noisily around Tartu centre, looking for suitable trees to rest for the night. Photo by Riikka Puurunen. 

Tartu airport before people started to arrive for the flight to Helsinki. Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

Conference bags with my name 100% correctly written. Finnish names appear to be difficult to write to non-Finns, with the ä's and ö's (which my name does not have) and the double vowels and consonants (of which my name has plenty). Photo by Riikka Puurunen.

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

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