BASF's future business unit plans to start industrial-scale production of polythiophene-based organic semiconductors early this year. The company is licensing polythiophene synthesis technology from Lincoln, Neb.-based Rieke Metals. Polythiophene-based organic semiconductors are used in such emerging devices as radio-frequency identification tags, photovoltaic cells, and organic light-emitting diodes. The consultancy IDTechEx says initial applications will be rolling out over the next two years, and it expects the market for these applications to be worth more than $40 billion by 2015. BASF will make the polythiophenes at facilities in the U.S. or Europe. BASF says it will be able to quickly ramp up to the hundreds of kilograms the market will soon need. Rieke was founded in 1991 by Reuben D. Rieke, a former University of Nebraska, Lincoln, chemistry professor, whose group was among the first to synthesize regio-regular 3-alkylpolythiophenes. At the time, other important work in the field was being conducted by Plextronics founder Richard D. McCullough at Carnegie Mellon University.