The business of materials for printing electronics is proving to be valuable for the smallest up to the largest participants. In an extreme case of this, the world's largest chemical company BASF of Germany recently formed an alliance with Rieke Metals of the USA, one of the smallest companies in the business. In the first half of 2007, BASF is putting into full manufacture the advanced tailored polythiophene semiconductors developed by Rieke.
Rieke Metals, Inc. offers a wide range of organometallic technology for the synthesis of complex organic molecules. This technology centers on highly reactive metals - thus the name - which have been developed over the past twenty years. The reaction of Rieke® metal powders with a variety of organic substrates yields a wide range of novel organometallic reagents, many of which are unattainable utilizing standard methods. Highly reactive metal chemistry for which Rieke Metals, Inc. offers special technology includes magnesium, zinc, copper, calcium, nickel, indium, cadmium, aluminum, and several other metals. Research size quantities are immediately available for all compounds described in its catalog. Pilot plant quantities or bulk manufacturing quantities are available on selected materials.
Now BASF has announced another alliance in materials, as it progresses rapidly into supplying the many factories coming on stream to make the devices. BASF reports as follows:
BASF Future Business and Polyera cooperate in development and commercialization of new semiconductors
BASF Future Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, is extending its technology portfolio and cooperation network in the printed electronics sector by starting collaboration with the U.S. company Polyera Corporation, Illinois. The partnership will focus on the development and commercialization of new organic semiconductors and dielectrics for use in CMOS-analog printed circuits. The partners intend to develop these materials as well as a printed prototype CMOS circuit within the next three years.
CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) is a term used in modern microelectronics to denote the use of two complementary types of semiconductors: n-type semiconductors for negative charges and p-type semiconductors for positive charges. CMOS circuitry is simpler to design, has superior performance and is more energy efficient than circuitry based on a single type of semiconductor. Following their development in the 1960s, CMOS circuitry quickly became the dominant technology in microelectronics. Common CMOS circuits are currently based on inorganic materials and are manufactured in very cost intensive processes.
Organic material sets make it possible to print CMOS-circuits on flexible substrates. This will make organic CMOS circuits cheaper and easier to produce than standard CMOS circuits and enables printed electronics to open up new markets. The market volume for printed electronics is expected to rise to over €30 billion by 2015 from currently €3 billion, according to independent consultants IDTechEx, Cambridge, U.K. Typical applications of printed electronics will be RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, memory units and flexible displays (e-paper).
"Polyera has in-depth know-how in the design and synthesis of semiconductors and dielectrics, as well as in transistor physics. This perfectly complements the expertise that BASF has built up in this area by itself as well as through a network of cooperations," said Dr. Peter Eckerle, project manager at BASF Future Business. "We are now well positioned to develop superior new material systems and satisfy the growing market demand."
"We are delighted about our cooperation with BASF. In addition to our combined strengths in developing new material systems, BASF's expertise in scaling up new products quickly and bringing them to market is very important to us. We are confident that our partnership will greatly enable the commercialization of printed electronics, as lack of superior materials is acknowledged to be one of the major bottlenecks in the industry," said Philippe Inagaki, Co-Founder of Polyera Corporation.
Polyera Corporation is headquartered at the Illinois Science and Technology Park, Skokie, Illinois. Since its founding in August 2005 as a start-up from Northwestern University, Polyera has become a leading developer of materials and technologies for the printed electronics industry. Further information about Polyera Corporation is available on the Internet at http://www.polyera.com.
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 and cooperates with startup companies, industrial partners, universities and potential customers. Further activities include acquisition of direct stakes, initiation of joint ventures and provision of venture capital via the subsidiary BASF Venture Capital GmbH. Further information on BASF Future Business is available on the Internet at http://www.basf-fb.de."
The BASF 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 high-value products and intelligent system solutions help its customers to be more successful. BASF develops new technologies and uses them to meet the challenges of the future and 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 €52.6 billion in 2006. 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 http://www.basf.com.