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Developing market changing Innovations
AZ Electronic Materials was acquired by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life science sectors. In the United States and Canada the subsidiaries of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate under the umbrella brand EMD.

Developing market changing Innovations


Our Challenge

A valued flat panel display customer approached us with a major challenge. They were looking for a new advanced photoresist which would allow them to produce higher resolution screens for high definition LCD TVs, but without any throughput reduction on the manufacturing floor – and we had just six months to deliver against the project.

Our Solution

The specifications for this advanced photoresist required a new technical platform. Working closely alongside our customer, we developed, tested and qualified an entirely new material within the incredibly demanding timescale. The resulting new technology, which we called Tandem photoresist, provides improved resolution and heat stability for the imaged photoresist structures, yet also enables our customer to run their manufacturing processes with the same manufacturing throughput – thus allowing them to produce displays with finer pixel size at competitive costs. The improved quality of the new EMD Performance Materials product has delivered our customer’s objective – a market-leading advantage.

Our Approach

Because of the short timescale involved, we approached this challenge by working on the different project elements simultaneously. For example, a key issue, vital for the success of the product, was ensuring the type and quality of the raw materials.

We soon established that we required the use of specialist resins and, in collaboration with a key supplier, quickly developed a custom-made resin to the desired specification.

As our supplier worked on the raw materials, the EMD Performance Materials team worked on formulating the candidate resins, photoactive compounds, additives and solvents into a photoresist that could be provided to our customer for initial testing. This interactive testing relied on short feedback, fine tuning and re-testing loops by our team in collaboration with our customer.

Working in parallel with the R&D and technical development teams, the sales and marketing team built strong communications links with our customer. They remained in frequent contact with them and liaised with each of the various departments at EMD Performance Materials, tracking progress and developing a detailed commercialisation plan for the new photoresist.

Since the successful launch of this product we have continued to provide technical and supply chain support to our customer who has decided to extend this technology into other advanced production lines.

The Tandem photoresist is an example of our performance as the leading global TFT photoresist supplier and as a partner of choice for manufacturers seeking a proactive, innovative and collaborative approach to research and development.