Specialty chemical maker Gelest is expanding its business by building a commercial-scale facility in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. The facility will produce organometallic photoresist precursors used in advanced semiconductor manufacturing, specifically for patterning nanometer-scale lines on silicon wafers using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light.

This move represents a shift from being an R&D partner to becoming a long-term commercial supplier to the electronics and semiconductor industry. Gelest's confidence and business infrastructure for this expansion were bolstered by its 2020 acquisition by Mitsubishi Chemical Group. The facility's initial products will support a new dry photoresist-based lithography technology developed by Lam Research, offering enhanced responsiveness to EUV laser light. Gelest executives declined to disclose specific chemical details due to the industry's reliance on trade secrets. Beyond the precursors, Gelest plans to install production lines for other chemicals used in medical devices, vehicles, power electronics, thermal management, and specialty coatings. While the shift to dry photoresists in the semiconductor industry may still be a few years away due to factors such as ongoing patent litigation and slower equipment, the precision and reduced patterning errors offered by dry resist technology are expected to be indispensable in creating more powerful chips.