Technology Academy Finland awards the International Millennium Technology Prize every two years. The prize is not a reward for lifetime achievement, but rather as encouragement for further development and research. The awardee receives one million euros in honor of a technological innovation that improves quality of life, has an extensive social impact, and is commercially viable.
Tuomo Suntola received the International Millennium Technology Prize for his pioneering technology: atomic layer deposition (ALD). ALD is used to manufacture material layers into a coating for microprocessors and digital memory devices. Thin films containing ALD are used in most modern computers and smartphones worldwide.
Tuomo's development and manufacturing of ALD expands global access to information technology. ALD is a primary factor in IT equipment becoming smaller and less expensive as IT performance and power increases. This phenomenon is known as Moore's Law: the efficiency of microchips doubles at approximately two-year intervals while the price decreases.
ALD impacts other fields as well. Medical instruments and implants utilize ALD coating, it prevents corrosion on watches and jewelry, and it lends to environmentally friendly packaging materials.
In the 1970s, during Finland's second industrialization from heavy industry to technology, Tuomo developed ALD technology and equipment. His first patent was granted in 1974. The mass production of thin films containing ALD began once he acquired international patents.
Tuomo was born in Finland and attended the Helsinki University of Technology. From 1997-2004, he was employed at the national energy company Fortum Corporation, where he focused on advancing energy technologies. Since 2015, he acts as chairman of the Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy. He is one of the founders of the Physics Foundations Society.
Tuomo received the Millenium Technology Prize in Helsinki on May 22.
Photo source: Technology Academy Finland
Laura Myers is an editorial intern for WITI and a freelance writer. She has a BA in creative writing from Knox College. She aspires to expand her storytelling skills as she continues on a lifelong path of exploration.