I work as a Regional Sales Director at Picosun, a Finnish ALD company. In my job, I handle my own sales team, formulate tool and process solutions for our customers, and in general help our customers succeed in their own field of interest (be it R&D or industry scale production using ALD). Despite working mostly in sales, my job requires I still actively follow ALD research and literature. One might say that in my line of work, every day is truly different.
My PhD work at the HelsinkiALD group was a nice and easy continuation from my master’s studies. The very interesting research topic, good research group, and very good supervisors (Mikko and Markku) kept me motivated during my PhD. It was also very nice to have a chance to get to know the very nice ALD community around the world already during my studies.
Having done a PhD in ALD has definitely helped me in my current job. It is easier to help other people with their ALD-related challenges when you have a solid background in ALD. And a fun fact, I was already using a Picosun ALD reactor during my work at HelsinkiALD, so I was familiar with the product when joining the company.
I would encourage everyone to have an open mind, discuss and make connections with people at ALD conferences. ALD is a very hot topic with lot of new applications constantly coming up. Also, remember to also enjoy your normal life during your studies (outside of work)!
I work for Beneq Oy and my title is Process Development Manager, Semiconductor ALD. My main responsibility centers around leading a process development team focusing on finding ALD solutions to challenges posed by semiconductor market customers. This is done via demos or development projects conducted in collaboration with our customers. Related tasks include assignment of projects to the members of my team and supporting them with the projects when needed, looking after and procuring required resources and materials, and conducting traditional responsibilities of supervisors. In addition, I coordinate publicly and internally funded R&D projects, lead a few investment projects, act as an internal technical support to other teams, and participate in up-keep of company clean room(s).
I ended up doing my PhD as a sum of many contributing factors. During my master’s studies I was able to only minimally touch ALD which was, and remains to be, the core competence of the group. I was very interested to dig deeper into ALD. At the same time, I was looking to generally build my skills in how to gather information, understand it and finally use it. However, I was from the beginning interested to know how ALD and findings made in fundamental research can be applied in practice and on real devices. This paved my way to moving to the industrial sector after graduation. I would say that it was quite thrilling to have a front row seat on how a leading research group operates and generates new information. Equally exiting was to gradually notice how my own skills improved, and tasks that originally seemed impossible became doable, although still extremely challenging.
I continued to a position that directly benefitted from my ALD background and thus I’d have to say that my studies have enabled my current work. What has been surprising is how much I have been able to draw from the learnings of not only my own research topic, but also on the topics of my colleagues and friends. Almost accidental transfer of knowhow can happen during coffee/tea breaks or even shared complaints in the lab. I also did some project coordination during my studies which somewhat delayed my graduation but has been a great asset later on.
It has been 6 years since my graduation and I still frequently go back to material collected during my studies. It has only becoming clearer what solid foundation I was offered by the professors and HelsinkiALD.
I am a postdoctoral researcher (“postdoc”) in department of Applied Physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. As a postdoc, I continue to specialize in research after obtaining PhD. My main task is to do experimental research on preparing functional thin films for energy and electronic applications using plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition. As this is a broad topic, I collaborate closely with other groups on especially the application-end of my research. I also supervise students’ research projects, take part in planning the research of the group, and lead execution of collaborative projects. Other important tasks of a postdoc include presenting research in scientific conferences, in articles, and applying for funding to support the research.
At the end of my chemistry bachelor studies in University of Helsinki, I worked in the HelsinkiALD group during one summer, which strengthened my wish to pursue research. I then did my master thesis in the group before directly continuing into doctoral studies. What got me into doing a PhD was the opportunity to delve deep into an interesting research question. To me, it was about both fulfilling my curiosity and giving me a feeling of contributing to important scientific and societal challenges. Besides the scientific knowledge I gained during my doctoral studies, I highly value what I learned about problem solving and analytical thinking as well as working both independently and with others. Working with a like-minded group of colleagues was a great experience for me that resulted in new friends and many memorable moments.
In my day-to-day work, I rely on much of the scientific knowledge and know-how on operating and understanding various instruments and techniques that I obtained during my master and doctoral studies in HelsinkiALD. Besides, everything I learned on working as a part of a research team and effectively collaborating and communicating with research partners has been very valuable. Overall, I feel I got a very solid background from the group for doing research in materials chemistry and related fields.
Talking to others, I have realized how unique the research area of HelsinkiALD is in that it is very relevant to both academic institutions and industry alike. This gives ample opportunities for employment but also means that successes and inventions in research can make it into a real use, which motivates me to further pursue research in the ALD field.