The Finnish physicist Tuomo Suntola has been awarded today with the Millennium Technology Award 2018 for developing the deposit of atomic layers (ALD, for its acronym in English), a technique that has made possible the manufacture of electronic devices of high efficiency.
Suntola received the prestigious award, considered the “Nobel” of technology and a prize of one million euros (1.1 million dollars), from the hands of the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, during a ceremony held in Helsinki.
The international jury of the award, chaired by the Finnish Päivi Törmä, said in a statement that the innovations of Suntola made possible phenomena such as smart phones and high efficiency computers, as well as social networks.
“The AML method is an example of technology that is hidden from users but is vital for development, it has also made the ownership of information technology more democratic, thus contributing to a broader access to information and communication” , Törmä said in the statement.
According to the jury, ALD technology developed by Suntola is constantly evolving since its inception in the seventies and made it possible for electronic devices to be increasingly smaller and cheaper to produce, but at the same time more powerful.
“Extremely thin insulating or conductive films needed in microprocessors and computer memory devices can only be manufactured using the ALD technology developed by Tuomo Suntola,” the jury said.
The president of Finland, Sauli Niinisto (d), praises the winner of the Millennium 2018 prize, known as the ‘Nobel’ of technology, Tuomo Suntola, during a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, today, May 22, 2018. The Millennium Prize it is granted every two years to innovations that have brought a clear benefit to humanity.
The President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto (d), praises the winner of the Millennium 2018 Award, known as the Nobel Prize for Technology, Tuomo Suntola, during a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, today, May 22, 2018. The Millennium Prize is awarded every two years to innovations that have brought a clear benefit to humanity.
The ALD is a method of the field of nanotechnology that allows creating ultra-thin three-dimensional structures superimposing layers of atoms and has multiple applications in sectors such as electronics, medicine and renewable energy.
The ALD method is used mainly to manufacture microprocessors, microchips and other electronic components present in virtually all modern smartphones and computers.
In the field of medicine, ALD technology allows, among other things, to create ultra-thin films for the coating of medical instruments and implants, improving their durability.
This technique is also used to improve the efficiency of solar panels, LED lights and lithium batteries of electric cars, as well as for the production of ecological packaging materials.
“Receiving the Millennium Technology Award is a great honor for me, especially because this innovation proved to be useful in so many applications that improve the quality of life of Humanity,” Suntola said in a statement.
According to the Academy of Technology of Finland, creator of the award, the global market of equipment and chemical products to make films ALD amounts to about 2,000 million dollars, while that of consumer electronics that uses this method exceeds 500,000 million dollars .
The Millennium Prize is awarded every two years since 2004 to technological innovations that represent a revolution and that contribute to improving the quality of life of people in a sustainable manner.
Among the winners are the British physicist Tim Berners-Lee, one of the creators of the World Wide Web (WWW), the Japanese Shuji Nakamura, inventor of the LED light-emitting diodes in blue, and the Swiss Michael Grätzel, discoverer of the cells Solar sensitized by dye.
The award was also received by Finnish engineer Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux open source operating system, and British physicist Stuart Parkin, inventor of magnetic storage devices for big data.
In the field of medicine were awarded the American Robert Langer, creator of intelligent systems of administration of drugs, and the Japanese Shinya Yamanaka, inventor of a new method to produce stem cells in the laboratory without resorting to human embryos.