Virtual Project, "History of ALD"





Virtual project on the history of ALD: Introduction and invitation to participate


Atomic layer deposition (ALD) has become a technique that, for its part, changes the world we live in. As for any significant technology, it is interesting and important to know where the technique came from. How was the concept developed? What were the first ALD experiments? When, where and by whom were they made? Why were they made?


Currently, the answers to those questions depend on whom you ask. Some say that ALD started from Dr. T. Suntola’s invention and patent application on “Atomic Layer Epitaxy” in 1974 in Finland. Others say that ALD was practiced already in the 1960’s in the Soviet Union as “Molecular Layering” by Prof. V.B. Aleskovskii and Prof. S.I. Kol’tsov. Exactly when ALD was made in the USSR for the first time is also not completely clear: one review article describes how ALD was presented in conference proceedings from the year 1965, published in 1967; while wikipedia states that the principle of ALD was published in the early 1960’s and the ALD concept proposed in 1952. Some have claimed that Irving Langmuir had already demonstrated ALD, still decades earlier.


To generate a common view on the early evolution of ALD, a “virtual project” is being set up as a collaborative effort by the whole ALD community. 

To allow all important details to become visible and to keep up the good spirit, we call for an atmosphere of openness, respect, and trust.


To realize this “virtual project,” the plan is as follows:

First, we should generate a complete list of early ALD publications.

Second, interested individuals should pick up some of the early publications, read them, and comment on the work. For example: was ALD made (i.e., do you recognize the work as ALD), and if yes, which process it was; and other noteworthy things.

Third, the individual should share their comments with others, and the comments of different people should be collected together.


When such Comments by a sufficiently large number of people are collected together, the collection should highlight what were the most important turning points in the evolution of ALD---and probably also visualize the different viewpoints people may have.


How will the results be published?

We will let this work evolve and see what it becomes, and decide the means of publication later. The names of all persons who have kindly helped in this virtual project will be announced. In addition to a publication, the goal is to update the wikipedia page.


To make this “virtual project” succeed, we need help. 

Everyone who is interested in the history of ALD is called to participate in this important and unique effort. Whether you are from Europe, America, Asia, Australia, or elsewhere, you are welcome to contribute---the more we are in number and the more varied we are in our backgrounds, the better, because different people with different backgrounds will interpret the same facts in different ways. The only requirement for participation is that you have some prior understanding of what ALD is (and what it is not).


Interested in participating in this unique world-wide effort? 

We warmly welcome you on board! Please open this link (it is a Google docs file), read through the instructions of how to participate---and start contributing whenever it suits you! We plan to keep the file open for editing until the end of year 2013.


July 25, 2013,


Riikka Puurunen (Dr.), Senior Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Aziz Abdulagatov (Dr.), Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA

Jonas Sundqvist (Dr.), Group Leader High-k Devices, Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT, Germany

Annina Titoff, Editor in Chief