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As a science and technology company, we strive to offer leading-edge products, services, and solutions.

Our R&D strategy follows our overall Electronics technology strategy, which aims to enhance and expand our capabilities, drive organic growth and enable new technology platforms. 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. Our Technology Leadership Board reviews and optimizes our technology investment across the business sector.

Our R&D is aligned to strengthen our existing position in the industry across many key material and innovation areas, with the addition of artificial intelligence (AI), data services, analytics, and sustainability to enhance our portfolio offering. As an essential part of our “Level Up” growth program, we are continuing to invest significantly more than € 3 billion in innovation and capacity expansion. With our R&D investments within “Level Up”, we are also scaling up our research and development capabilities for next-generation semiconductor and display materials to further strengthen our position as one of the leading suppliers to the electronics industry.

Our R&D is focused on finding solutions for the needs that drive our industry: increase energy efficiency of devices, enhance performance of materials, reduce environmental impact on the planet. Consequently, sustainability, and the use of AI and machine learning are key focus areas of our R&D.

Sustainable technologies and materials*

We are continuing to drive sustainability in R&D to address the increasing push for lower emissions along the value chains. Ongoing key programs focus on, e.g. NF3 abatement and more sustainable processes and manufacturing technologies as well as green solvents, sustainable etch gases and PFAS replacement.

NF3 abatement

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) accounts for about 60% of our global emissions, mainly from our specialty gases business. We developed and tested an abatement solution using a modified commercial thermal destruction technology and demonstrated the ability to destroy NF3 with 99% efficiency.


PFAS, a generic term that covers about 10,000 per- and polyfluoralkyl substances, is used for several critical applications in the manufacture of microchips, e.g. photolithography, plasma etching and wafer cleaning. While it is currently not possible to manufacture semiconductors without PFAS, we have already developed several alternative products for some applications in Electronics. One area in which we are highly advanced is the replacement of PFAS surfactants with non-PFAS alternatives in photoresists and related ancillary products such as rinse solutions.


To embed sustainable design into R&D and steer our portfolio in a more sustainable direction in the long term, we have developed a scorecard that focuses on sustainable criteria in the development of new products and solutions. The scorecard is a tool for driving a sustainability culture in R&D and considers every step of the value chain to identify opportunities and risks at an early stage and act accordingly.

Academic research program

With the objective of enabling more sustainable semiconductor manufacturing solutions, we have joined forces with the Intel Corporation to jointly fund an academic research program over three years. The program will specifically leverage AI and machine learning technologies to achieve innovative breakthroughs in sustainable semiconductor manufacturing processes and technologies. Potential solutions include environmentally friendlier materials, more efficient use of resources, AI-based solutions for modeling chemical processes, and opportunities for reducing waste and emissions. The focus is on building open-source tools for the benefit of the entire scientific and industrial community.

R&D activities in the business units*

Semiconductor Solutions

In our R&D we are addressing critical material needs through every step of the wafer manufacturing process. Top R&D programs for our Semiconductor Solutions business units include:

Business field Thin Films

Our Thin Films business field is actively developing new dielectrics (organosilanes and spin-on dielectrics) and metallics offerings. Many of these new products are qualified by multiple customers and we are developing new materials for leading-edge nodes that will enable chips and chiplets used for generative AI. The integration of the chemical business of Mecaro into our business enables us to develop new precursors for high performance DRAM and provides us with unique capabilities to expand our development in Asia. In addition, we continued to expand our metallics portfolio to support our customers’ roadmaps, providing innovative solutions for ALD (atomic layer deposition) and CVD (chemical vapor deposition). We achieved significant advancements in high-performance, conformal dielectric ALD films which address key customer pain points. Our spin-on-dielectrics platform focuses on developing new formulations for gap-fill applications in increasingly deep and narrow insulating features with the improved performance needed to enable next-generation V-NAND (vertical flash memory) and DRAM (dynamic random-access memory).

Business field Specialty Gases

Our etch gas technology program continues to develop new chemistries to enable more than 100-layer, single-stack etching for advanced memory devices such as V-NAND (vertical flash memory). We are also seeing good progress in our etch gas development work for new low-GWP (global warming potential) gases for etching applications and in our cooperation with customers to develop low-GWP gas solutions used in the production of semiconductors.

Business field Formulations (patterning and planarization)

The main driver of our R&D engagements in patterning is the manufacturing capability and costs associated with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography systems. We are increasing our efforts in the development of EUV lithography materials to directly help our key customers address these challenges. Our Patterning Solutions team achieved a breakthrough in PFAS-free EUV rinse development, paving the way for a sustainable solution to prevent the collapse of structures in EUV lithography.

We are also investing in directed self-assembly (DSA) capabilities as we support customers’ integration of DSA into advanced nodes, and we are beginning to sample photoresists and rinse materials from our PFAS-free portfolio development.

Our Planarization business is driving new product development across advanced oxide and metal segments. For example, we are achieving technical progress using dielectric high-performance cerium dioxide particles for advanced oxide CMP (chemical mechanical planarization).

Display Solutions

With the proliferation of multiple applications and display trends, the display industry’s technological requirements are significantly expanding. Our display materials are enabling the fast-growing market of innovative displays for current and future applications such as foldable smartphones, flexible displays for automotive or AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) devices.

As our liquid crystals business remains a strong focus area, our R&D team is continuously working to develop new liquid crystal mixtures for our customers who need differentiated performance such as high transmittance, high contrast ratio, and high reliability to realize displays for new applications. We are working with our customers in the field of AR/VR to expand the application scenarios of liquid crystals and continue to enhance the user experience in small and micro-sized displays. We remain fully committed to advancing LCD technology and are working very closely with leading panel makers to develop next-generation products for the electronics market.

In the display industry, OLED is regarded as state-of-the-art technology for its excellent visual experience. It is also considered as the technology of the future of displays as it enables the production of flexible, foldable, rollable, and even transparent displays. We introduced new barrier materials that offer superior flexibility, higher reliability and a longer lifetime in flexible OLED devices compared with existing solutions. Devices with fully flexible OLED displays are one of the fastest-growing trends in data-driven electronics. Our innovative ALD material won the “Display Component of The Year 2023” award from Society for Information Display (SID), the world’s largest display association. In addition, our innovative deuterated material won the “Technology Innovation Award” from LG Displays in September 2023.

Surface Solutions

In our Surface Solutions business, we offer our customers solutions for designing surfaces that meet their specific requirements. Together with our customers, we are consistently developing new formulations that, in combination with existing products and product innovations, provide customized solutions across various industries.

In our automotive pigments business, we are continuously expanding our portfolio of Colorstream® multicolor-effect pigments. A recent example is the development of Colorstream® F20-52 SW Mineral Red pigment, a new silica-based pigment that extends the red color palette of Surface Solutions into a more blueish-red range.

In our cosmetics business, we are further developing our range of high-color intensity pigments with metallic optical effects entirely without the use of metals. These Ronaflux® pigments are based on an entirely new proprietary technology employing fluidized bed processes for depositing ultrathin and highly stable carbon layers onto pearlescent pigments – a major precondition for spectacular shine effects. The carbon layers intensify the colors of the effect pigments, thus enabling brilliant shades of blue and green without the addition of chrome oxides, Prussian blue or other colorants. This new offering enables manufacturers of eye makeup and lipsticks to meet the strict regulatory requirements while offering brilliant metallic blue and green shades that do not contain any metal-based pigments.

To produce realistic color effects on electronic devices, we are focusing on methodologies to transfer coloristic measuring data into 3D visible effects. As a first step, we have introduced the first digital tool for visualizing car colors in various light conditions in a realistic way. Under controlled, calibrated conditions, color data, measured state-of-the-art technology, can be used to produce a realistic display.

* The contents of this chapter or section are voluntary and therefore not audited. However, our auditor has read the text critically.

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