You can find some interesting examples of potential career paths below. The full list of our past PhDs can be found here.
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 as a Process Development Engineer at Beneq Oy – the Home of ALD. My job is to help our customers improve the performance of their semiconductor applications by using ALD. I prepare different types of ALD films on device wafers and modify the process based on customer feedback. Successful process development may result in the sale of a Beneq ALD reactor, a contract for coating services or some other form of fruitful collaboration. It is also important to do in-house process development and constantly refine our process selection to be able to offer our customers the very best solutions. In addition to the experimental work in the cleanroom, my work includes project management, reporting and communication at the customer interface. I also interact with the other teams in the company and offer technical support for sales and engineering.
I did ALD research for both my bachelor and master studies but it wasn’t enough – I had just scratched the surface and I wanted to learn more. So, I decided to pursue a PhD and was lucky enough to start working on an interesting yet challenging research topic for a corporate funded project. During my master’s I had relied on my adviser’s opinions and it was only my time as a doctoral candidate that taught me true independence. Looking back, having to make my own decisions was crucial for building my confidence in the lab and as a researcher. The HelsinkiALD group offered an ideal research environment; I had access to top-of-the-line lab infrastructure and got to learn from the best professionals in the field.
Doing a PhD in the HelsinkiALD group gave me a solid substance knowledge in ALD which is essential in my current job. I also learned how to search for information and manage an extensive project from beginning to end. As my project was funded by ASM Microchemistry, I had the chance to see the world of corporate R&D, interact with corporate management and get acquainted with IP-related matters. These experiences helped smoothen the transition from academia to industry.
I hold my time in the HelsinkiALD group in high regard. The education was a good stepping stone for a career in both industry and academia, but what is even more important to me are the great friendships and fun memories made along the way.
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.