Within our Electronics business sector, we are a technology leader and one of the leading players in most of our markets. As a science and technology company, we offer leading-edge products, services, and solutions that, in many cases, set us apart from the competition. Our business units are developing advanced materials for next-generation electronics. Our Chief Technology Office (CTO) is identifying trends and vetting technologies that are beyond the time horizon or scope of our business units. As a dedicated technology organization, the CTO is managing research partnerships, shaping our technology roadmaps, and managing our long-term R&D portfolio. We have also created a Technology Leadership Board to review and optimize our technology investment across the business sector.
In September, we announced our plans to invest significantly more than € 3 billion in innovation and capacity until the end of 2025. These investments are an essential part of the new Level Up growth program. With this investment, we are also scaling up our research and development capabilities for next-generation semiconductor and display materials to further expand our position as a leading supplier to the electronics industry.
We are addressing our customers’ critical material needs through every step of the wafer manufacturing process. The outstanding capabilities and competencies of the businesses are diverse and will enable us to bring game-changing innovations for our customers into the market faster.
In Semiconductor Materials, our Thin Film Solutions business achieved significant progress in advancing critical PORs (Process of Record) for new organosilanes for conformal high-performance atomic layer deposition (ALD) and progressed our plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) for low dielectric constant applications. We continue to make progress in developing high-purity metal-containing precursor offerings enabled by new engineered container delivery systems. We also focus on developing new spin-on dielectric formulations for processes with improved dielectric characteristics for faster and better logic and memory devices.
With our Specialty Gases, we continue to make progress with our new etch gas technology program, which is focused on advancing the development of new chemistries to enable more than 100-layer single-stack etching for advanced memory devices such as V-NAND. We continue to see significant performance in new POR wins across our existing portfolio and new product introductions.
Our Patterning Solutions business continues to heavily invest in pattern transfer technologies for advanced nodes. The proliferation of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is gaining momentum in the industry, and our R&D programs for pattern collapse, underlayer, and image rectification are showing excellent progress at key customers. We are uniquely positioned to drive the implementation of organometallic compounds into the photolithography segment. We are seeing strong interactions in hard mask and resist development leading to improved performance. Additionally, advanced packaging technologies are driving innovation in conventional lithography materials. We are collaborating with the leading companies to support this innovation.
Our Silicon Valley-based material innovation accelerator Intermolecular saw an increase in the amount of work done in its labs for quantum computing and neuromorphic computing companies. These companies benefit from the flexible device processing infrastructure and deep materials knowledge to quickly achieve tangible products in these emerging technology areas. For more than 15 years, Intermolecular has been exploring, testing, and developing advanced materials that are revolutionizing the next generation of electronics.
Delivery Systems & Services (DS&S) develops, deploys, and operates the equipment that enables safe and reliable delivery of hazardous materials in semiconductor manufacturing. We are increasing the global manufacturing capacity of our state-of-the-art specialty gas, liquid chemical, and slurry delivery equipment to meet the growing demand in memory and foundry.
We released our CHEMGUARD® 600 model for bulk Tetrakis(dimethylamino)titanium (TDMAT) delivery, extending our TDMAT technology to remote, bulk supply to support our customers’ ever-increasing flow rate and uptime requirements of advanced nodes. It also eliminates the need to use solvents to purge heat-sensitive, high-K precursors with low vapor pressures. The first container changes were completed and executed much faster than anticipated. It significantly reduces the container change time and provides a greener solution, surpassing our customer’s performance expectations.
In addition, we have extended our GASGUARD® Active Control development to low vapor pressure compressed gases. Initially, it was developed to maintain, repeat, and stabilize pressure for high vapor pressure gases under varying manufacturing conditions and with zero pressure drift. GASGUARD Active Control now allows semiconductor fabs to achieve much greater precision in controlling the pressure of low vapor pressure compressed gases, such as Tungsten hexafluoride (WF6) and others.
Most of the hazardous chemicals in liquid form are delivered by helium gas pressure to a wafer processing tool. We introduced CHEMKEEPER® GenX to reduce helium consumption by more than 50% of conventional systems.
At many customer sites, these technologies and other DS&S equipment are operated and maintained by our MEGASYS® Total Gas and Chemical Services team. As part of a global operations infrastructure, we are a premier supplier of semiconductor fab and sub-fab services to the worldwide electronics industry.
Our display materials are enabling the fast-growing market of innovative displays for current and future applications such as foldable smartphones, rollable TVs, or AR/VR (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality) devices. We further strengthened our ability to drive innovations in the attractive field of OLED displays by acquiring OLED patents from Konica Minolta in 2020. With liviFlex™-H, we are addressing challenges in the manufacturing of free-form OLED displays. Furthermore, we are active in the development of innovative material solutions for next generation displays, for example in the field of QD-PCC (Quantum Dot Pixel Color Converter), micro-LEDs, and AR/VR displays in close cooperation with customers and partners.
Our liquid crystal technology ultra-brightness fringe-field switching (UB-FFS) continues its successful growth, thanks to new product qualifications and rising demand in the liquid crystal displays (LCD) sector for mobile devices, especially mobile phones and tablet PCs. The development of high-resolution 4K and 8K TV sets continues to pose a challenge, as the LCD backlight transmission and efficiency will be reduced due to higher pixel density. We are therefore actively working to expand our ultra-bright (UB) technology offering with our UBplus liquid crystal materials for the TV market. With such technologies, we increase the light transmission efficiency of applications for large-format TV sets and display panels by 10% to 15%. This contributes hugely to the reduction of power consumption and helps our customers and consumers to meet sustainability targets.
In our Surface Solutions business, we focus on the empowerment of our customers to create surfaces that do what they need them to do – and look exactly the way they expect them to look. Thus, together with our customers we not only develop product innovations but more and more focus on new application technologies and process excellence to provide customized solutions for the individual challenges of our clients.
In our automotive pigments business, our pipeline consists of three pillars: product development, application engineering and effect visualization. We are actively working on the extension of our portfolio of Colorstream® multicolor effect pigments with outstanding saturation in the bluish red color space as an ideal complementation of the existing Colorstream® Lava Red. We will also add a fine light silver Iriodin® pigment to our metallic stylings offering a unique brightness and opacity.
With the development of a high viscous Durazane® polymer, we will extend the application field of anti-scratch and easy-to-clean coatings towards thicker films.
In addition, we push the boundaries of science and technology to lead our customers on the path to digitization of color evaluation processes. That is why we are implementing a digital setup that allows us to produce highly reliable color data as additional service for our customers.
In our Cosmetics business, we continue to put sustainability at the center of our efforts by more and more focusing on natural materials in our portfolio. Therefore, we will introduce additional cosmetic active materials from botanical sources with unique efficacy addressing anti-aging and anti-inflammatory claims. We also considered sustainability in the development of the first range of metal-free metal-look pigments for unique cosmetic effects based on proprietary and novel technology of pigment particle coating.
By broadening our portfolio of inorganic UV filters with two new products based on zinc peroxide (ZnO2), we will strengthen our position as one of the leading UV experts for light protection and tanning.
With the market introduction of additional specific specialties products for high-security applications, we will also extend our Securalic® portfolio offering our customers more reliable and highly discreet counterfeit detection.
* The contents of this chapter or section are voluntary and therefore not audited. However, our auditor has read the text critically.