Tuomo Suntola       In Finnish, suomeksi


Tuomo Suntola

PhD in electron physics (1971)

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is a method of material layer buildup one atomic layer at time. ALD is an enabling technology for modern semiconductor devices and an important technology in many other applications ranging from solar cells and Li-batteries to silver ornaments and telescope mirrors.

Renewable Energies,

Scenarios on future energy solutions. Analysis of the effect of acidizing pollutants on the CObalance of the atmosphere.

Fundamentals of Physics,

The Dynamic Universe (DU) theory is a holistic description of the observable physical reality. DU relies on absolute time and distance as coordinate quantities essential for human comprehension and shows relativity in terms of local energy states.


Tuomo Suntola graduated MSc (1967) and Ph.D. (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 50 years later holds the world market leader’s position in humidity sensing, and has been used, e.g., in NASA’s Mars landers. He was invited to Instrumentarium Oy where he in 1974 introduced the Atomic Layer Epitaxy (ALE) process, which after development for productional capability, 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 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. Since his graduate student times, Suntola has been pondering the basis of physics, theory structures, and the underlying picture of reality. In the 1990s, the thinking materialized into the Dynamic Universe theory that after maturing and testing for 25 years is documented in the book The Dynamic Universe – Toward a Unified Picture of Physical Reality.

“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 laboratory 
    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)
    Development of Atomic Layer Epitaxy, ALE (Atomic Layer Deposition, ALD) for manufacturing of electroluminescent thin film displays.
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)
    Renewablele energy technologies, retired 2004


Docent at Physics Department of Tampere University, 1975 -, Lectures on semiconductor physics (1972-78)
Member of the Finnish Academy of Technology, TTA, 1983 - / Board member 1988-93. 
Member in the World Energy Council (WEC), Working group "Energy Technologies for the 21st century" 2003-2004
Member of the Board of Directors, Picosun Oy, 2004 - 2022
Chairman of the Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy, 2015 - 2017 (board member 2007-2010, 2014)
Chairman of the Physics Foundations Society, 2008 -


  • 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, “Honoring the Pioneer in Atomic Layer Deposition Techniques … that paved the way for the development of nanoscale semiconductor devices”, Semicon Europe 2004, Munich.
  • Millennium Technology Prize 2018, Technology Academy Finland (TAF)

2018 Millennium Technology Prize 

The biennial one-million-euro Millennium Technology Prize has been awarded to Dr. Tuomo Suntola by the Technology Academy Finland (TAF). Suntola’s prize-winning ALD (atomic layer deposition) innovation is a nanoscale technology in use all over the world. ALD is used to manufacture ultra-thin material layers for microprocessors and digital memory devices. The technology allows building of complex, three-dimensional structures one atomic layer at a time.

Picture: The President of the Rebublic of Finland, Mr. Sauli Niinistö presented the eighth Millennium Technology Prize to Dr. Tuomo Suntola in Helsinki on 22 May 2018.

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