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Tuomo Suntola

Tuomo Suntola, PhD in Electron Physics (1971), has far-reaching academic and industrial career comprising pioneering work from fundamental theoretical findings to successful industrial applications. He is the father of the Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology which is an enabling technology for nanoscale semiconductor device manufacturing. Beside his industrial research he was searching for a holistic perspective to the physical reality – which, in mid 1990s, crystalized to the Dynamic Universe approach allowing the study of the universe as a dynamic energy system with the energies of gravitation and motion in balance.



Tuomo Suntola graduated MSc (1967) and PhD (1971) in Electron Physics in the Electrical Engineering Department at Helsinki University of Technology. He entered to materials sciences and thin film technologies by solving the late 60’s mystery of the nanosecond switching mechanism in “Ovonic” thin film devices as his doctoral dissertation. His first industrial work was “Humicap®” thin film humidity sensor for Vaisala Oy (1973) which still, almost 40 years later holds the world market leader’s position in humidity sensing. He was invited to Instrumentarium Oy where he in 1974 introduced the Atomic Layer Epitaxy (ALE) process which after development for productional capability in became the leading technology for electroluminescent flat panel displays. After further development at Microchemistry Ltd the ALE technology and machinery reached the requirements for advanced semiconductor processing. Renamed as Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) the technology has merged into IC manufacturing, enabling extreme conformality and controlled processing of ultra-thin material layers of a few atomic layers. Suntola’s technologist’s career produced many important patents, vital industrial applications, and scientific papers. His technological impact was complemented by work on photovoltaic devices and insightful analyses of global energy challenges.

“Considerations of the philosophy of science and the foundations of physics have been a source of inspiration throughout my career, both in technological developments and the search of a holistic view of physical reality".



Helsinki University of Technology, Electrical Engineering Department / Electron physics M.Sc. (1967), Ph.D. (1971)

State Research Centre, VTT, Scientist (1968-1973)

- Development of Humicap humidity sensor for Vaisala Oy (1971-1973)

Instrumentarium Oy, Chief Scientist (1974-1978), 
Lohja Corporation, Director of Display Division/Chief Scientist (1978-1987)

- Development of Atomic Layer Epitaxy, ALE (Atomic Layer Deposition, ALD) for manufacturing of electroluminescent thin film displays.

Microchemistry Ltd, subsidiary of Neste/Fortum Corporation, Managing director (1987-1997)

- Development of solar cell technologies
- Extension of the use of Atomic Layer Deposition to the manufacturing of heterogeneous catalysts
- Development of the ALD technology and equipment for semiconductor applications

Fortum Corporation, R&D Fellow, (1997-2004), retired 2004





    • Award for Invention of Humidity Sensor, The Foundation of Finnish Inventions, 1978
    • Award for Electroluminescent Display Technology, The Association of Finnish Electric and Electronics Industries, SETELI, 1980
    • Outstanding Paper Award for Atomic Layer Epitaxy for Producing EL Thin Films, The Society for Information Displays (SID), USA, 1980
    • Honorary Award for The Development of Manufacturing Technology for Electroluminescent Display Devices, The Foundation of Technology in Finland, 1981
    • The Finnish Engineering Achievement Award 1985 for Electroluminescent Display Technology, Engineering Society in Finland, 1985
    • Order of the Lion of Finland - Knight 1st Class, 2001
    • European SEMI Award 2004, "For the development of the ALD technology to semiconductor applications", Semicon Europe 2004, Munich



US patents with Suntola as the main inventor. All patents in the list are issued worldwide. Data: The original application date (foreign patent priority in the US)/filed in the US, US patent number, Inventors, Title with link to the United States Patent Office Data Base. (See also Espacenet, European Patent office)




ALDALDALD technology and thin film devices

Publications and conference presentations on Atomic Layer Deposition technology and thinfilm devices.


Renewable energy and climate change

Publications and conference presentations on global energy analyses, photovoltaics and the CO2 balance.


Foundations of physics - the Dynamic Universe

Publications and conference presentations on Dynamic Univese, the history of science and the philosophy of science.




Wikipedia / Tuomo Suntola 

Google Scholar, T Suntola

ResearchGate / Tuomo Suntola

LinkedIn / Tuomo Suntola