Dr. Tuomo Suntola, the inventor of ALD and Picosun Board member, has received the Millennium Technology Prize 2018. The prize was announced and awarded in Helsinki Tuesday 22nd May.
“Tuomo Suntola’s innovations led to the large-scale commercial utilization of the ALD method. He saw the huge potential of atomic layer deposition and thin-film technology in microelectronics and information technology,” says Päivi Törmä, Chair of the Board of the Millennium Technology Prize Selection Committee.
”Dr. Tuomo Suntola’s work benefits the whole mankind. The super-efficient everyday electronics of today are based on ALD. Health technology is taking giant leaps forward with ALD, and we will see the same happening to many other branches of industry in the near future,” says Mr. Kustaa Poutiainen, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Picosun.
Suntola invented Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) already in 1974. With it, ultra-thin films with thicknesses down to only a few millionths of a millimeter could be grown on all kinds of surfaces, even on three-dimensional ones. ALD films grow by one atomic layer at a time, when gaseous precursor chemicals react with the surface. He was ahead of his time, because it took over 30 years before semiconductor industry started to utilize ALD on production scale. Quickly, ALD revolutionized the whole industry.With it, transistors and memories keep shrinking in size while shooting up in efficiency.
ALD is boosting development everywhere. Health technologies and Internet-of-Things, with its billions of high tech sensors equipped with ALD films, are some of the key application areas in the near future. ALD enables brighter and longer-lasting LEDs, and ALD films can be found even in watches, jewelry, and collector coins.
Tuomo Suntola joined Picosun a couple of years after the company was established, first as a technological advisor but soon also as one of the owners and a Board member. The company owns a lot to the experience and silent knowledge brought along by him and his close colleague, late Sven Lindfors.
”All of us here at Picosun congratulate Tuomo. And I am sure that the whole ALD community joins us. Tuomo is an incredible innovator, who has definitely deserved this prize. At Picosun, it is our obligation to Tuomo to keep spearheading the development of ALD, as an agile and innovation-driven company,” says Poutiainen.