BASF Future Business and Rieke Metals to start commercialization of organic semiconductors
* Reliable supply to be established for growth market of printed electronics
BASF Future Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, will start the industrial-scale production and sales of organic semiconductors (polythiophenes) by early 2007. In order to produce polythiophenes, BASF has entered into a licensing and joint development agreement with Rieke Metals, Inc., Lincoln, Nebraska.
The organic semiconductors will be used by customers in the fast-growing printed electronics industry. This industry prints low-cost, highly-flexible integrated circuitry for use, for example, in flexible displays (e-paper) and radio frequency identification tags (RFID). In addition, the semiconductors can be used in the manufacturing of large-area photovoltaic cells.
BASF will use existing production facilities, located in Europe and/or the United States. The production capacity can be flexibly increased to meet the growing demand in the printed electronics industry, which is expected to reach a market volume of several hundred kilograms of semiconductors in the coming years.
Polythiophenes, with an exceptionally high electronic quality, are manufactured using a synthesis process developed by Rieke Metals. This quality is achieved by a unique control of the detailed molecular weight and structure of the polymer. At BASF’s production facilities, the process will be further optimized in terms of productivity and purity.
Many startups but also well-established companies from the printing and electronic industries are currently working on the commercialization of first-generation products such as large-area photovoltaic cells or flexible displays, which could enter the market in the next two years. The market for such applications is expected to rise to over €30 billion by 2015 from currently €3 billion, according to independent consultants IDTechEx, Cambridge, U.K.
“It will be increasingly important for many companies to have a large and highly-reliable supply of semiconductors“ said Dr. Peter Eckerle, project manager at BASF Future Business. “BASF can play a key role here through its expertise in chemistry and its global presence.”
“We are delighted that we have found a partner in BASF that makes it now possible to produce organic semiconductors on an industrial scale,” said Professor Reuben Rieke, CEO of Rieke Metals. “We will also carry out joint research in the future to broaden the range of organic semiconductor products based on both companies’ technological expertise.”
BASF Future Business GmbH, a 100 percent subsidiary of BASF Aktiengesellschaft, was founded in April 2001. It aims to open up business areas with above-average growth rates that lie outside BASF’s current activities. The company focuses on chemistry-based new materials, technologies and system solutions. BASF Future Business GmbH commissions research from BASF’s R&D units on the one hand, and, on the other hand, cooperates with startup companies, industrial partners, universities and potential customers. Further tools include acquisition of a direct stake, joint ventures, with partner companies or provision of venture capital via the subsidiary BASF Venture Capital GmbH. Further information on BASF Future Business is available on the Internet at www.basf-fb.de.
Rieke Metals, Inc. is located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Since 1992 it has been offering highly reactive metals and unique organometallic reagents as well as over 10,000 fine organic chemicals. Rieke Metals is a world leader in the supply of organic semiconducting polymers such as 3-alkyl polythiophenes with exceptional regioregularity. The versatility of its proprietary processes allows Rieke Metals to constantly expand the range of products offered and to custom manufacture specific molecules under research contracts. Further information on Rieke Metals is available on the Internet at www.riekemetals.com.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas. As a reliable partner to virtually all industries, BASF’s intelligent system solutions and high-value products help its customers to be more successful. BASF develops new technologies and uses them to open up additional market opportunities. It combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, thus contributing to a better future. BASF has over 95,000 employees and posted sales of more than €42.7 billion in 2005. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA), New York (BF) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.
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