Picosun Oy

Picosun develops ALD-enhanced processes for chemical and pharmaceutical industries

Lehdistötiedote   •   Marras 10, 2010 08:31 EET

Picosun develops ALD-enhanced processes for chemical and pharmaceutical industries

Espoo Finland, November 10th, 2010 – Picosun Oy, Finland-based global manufacturer of state-of-the-art Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) systems, takes part in Polycat, a major 2010 -2014 EU funded research project aiming at reducing the environmental footprint of chemical and pharmaceutical industries by studying methods towards creating zero-waste processes. The European Union has allocated seven million euros from its 7th European Research Programme for the ten million euro budget of Polycat.

Picosun’s industrial partners in Polycat include Thales Nanotechnology from Hungary, Ehrfeld Mikrotechnik, Bayer Technology Services and Evonik Degussa, all three from Germany, Sanofi-Aventis from France, and a Ukraine/Russia –based joint venture by German Süd-Chemie and Estonian Alvigo. Polycat’s scientific partners include prominent universities and research institutions from Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Polycat is coordinated by the Institut für Mikrotechnik Mainz, in Mainz, Germany.

Picosun’s speciality as part of Polycat is in the process development for catalyst preparation and, towards 2014, increasingly also in process optimization and scale-up for industrial scale use.

The production of most industrially important chemicals involves catalysis. Similarly, most biochemically significant processes are catalyzed. According to estimates 90% of all commercially produced chemical products involve catalysts at some stage in their manufacturing process. In 2005, catalytic processes generated about $900 billion in products worldwide.

"Thus far the technology of ALD has not been recognized for its full potential when it comes to catalysts. Through Polycat, Picosun will be able to create a whole new approach to creation and use of catalysts, and introduce ALD enhanced production techniques to chemical and pharmaceutical industries," says Juhana Kostamo, Managing Director of Picosun.

Polycat has ambitious goals. It aims at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of European chemical industry through two key innovations. First innovation is a new class of polymer-supported nanoparticle catalysts with their embedment in innovative microstructured flow chemistry reactors. The second innovation is a modular, least-investment-cost plant in container format (so-called 'Factory of the Future'). The development of highly efficient heterogeneously catalysed fine-chemical processes owes several process advantages, most notably reducing the use of solvents and eliminating reaction steps.

Polycat also aims at improving the yield of processes, reducing the product costs by at least 10 % and cutting piloting times by almost a third. An important goal is to reduce process waste by 40 % through elimination of metal leaching into the products. To allow maximum performance, process control is of utmost importance and the process innovation needs to be supplemented and mirrored by plant innovation. Thus, the new catalysts in the new reactors have to be embedded in the new plant architecture.

According to a rough estimate on the total economic impact of Polycat, the micro-economic impact within an estimated timeline of five to ten years is valued at 25 to 100 million euro, and the macro-economic impact of indirect value-creation scenarios by transfer of technology are estimated to reach 100 to 500 million euro within a timeline of 10 to 15 years.

Picosun Oy is a Finland-based global manufacturer of state-of-the-art ALD systems for micro- and nanotechnology applications. Picosun represents continuity to over three decades of ALD reactor design and manufacturing in Finland. Picosun is based in Espoo, Finland and has its US headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. SUNALE™ ALD process tools are installed in various universities, research institutes and companies across four continents. Picosun Oy is a part of Stephen Industries Inc Oy.

Dr Tuomo Suntola, inventor of ALD technology, is Member of the Board of Directors of Picosun. World’s most experienced ALD reactor designer Sven Lindfors is Picosun´s Chief Technology Officer and one of the founders of the company.

Additional information:
Picosun Oy, Mr. Juhana Kostamo, Managing Director
Tietotie 3, FI-02150 Espoo, Finland
Tel. +358 50 321 1955;
Fax. +358 20 722 7012;
e-mail: info (at) picosun.com

www.picosun.com

Picosun Oy is a Finland-based global manufacturer of state-of-the-art ALD systems for micro- and nanotechnology applications. Picosun represents continuity to over three decades of ALD reactor manufacturing in Finland (ALD = Atomic Layer Deposition). Picosun is based in Espoo, Finland and has its US headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. SUNALE™ ALD process tools are installed in various universities, research institutes and companies across four continents. Picosun Oy is a part of Stephen Industries Inc Oy.

ALD is a surface controlled layer-by-layer process based on self-terminating gas-solid reactions. It is uniquely suited to produce high-performance gas barrier coatings on various materials as it allows preparation of dense and pinhole-free inorganic films that are uniform in thickness even deep inside pores, trenches and cavities of various dimensions. The other advantages of the ALD include low impurity content and mild deposition conditions in terms of temperature and pressure. There is a wide range of ALD-grown materials and commercial applications, from catalysts to electroluminescent displays in microelectronics and beyond.  In addition to forming efficient barriers certain ALD-grown materials can also act as conductive enablers.

ALD was invented in 1974 by Dr. Tuomo Suntola, today serving as Member of the Board of Directors of Picosun. Picosun founder and CTO Sven Lindfors has been designing ALD systems continuosly since 1975.