Our alumni have found careers both in industry and in academia.

You can find some interesting examples of potential career paths below. The full list of our past PhDs can be found here.

Tero Pilvi, Technical Sales Manager, Picosun, an Applied Materials company

I work as a Technical Sales Manager at Picosun, an Applied Materials company, located in Finland. 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)!

Katja Väyrynen, Process Development Engineer, Beneq Oy

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.