A technique for everyday nanocoatings

In Strasbourg, chemists and chemical physicists have revolutionised the nanocoating dispersion technique. This new process lowers the cost and offers increasingly varied potential industrial uses in a number of fields.

Whether in our cars, our kitchens, our living rooms or even in hospitals, nanocoatings follow us everywhere. Their uses are growing in number and these coatings are found in biomaterial, optical, renewable energy, electronic and health applications. These new tools spread active substances active in the organism, offering ways of treating more and more medical problems.

Two research teams from Strasbourg, from the Charles Sadron Institute (CNRS) and the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory (University of Strasbourg/INSERM), have developed a new nanocoating dispersion technique. The researchers achieved these surprising results using two spray cans. The coating is diffused using simultaneous sprays, and the continuous, gradual film obtained is formed through specific interactions. The thickness is controlled by the spray time, during which the solvent and the residual material are drained away.

This one-step process is very easy to use. Its advantages are numerous: it is inexpensive and has a low environmental impact, is homogeneous and can be used for numerous nanocoatings, including inorganic films.  All these factors are very interesting to industrial companies. They would reduce production costs and would represent an investment in sustainable development.

The film obtained can measure between 10-100 nanometres and several micrometres. According to Pierre Schaaf: “By playing with the different layers and modifying the structure, it is possible to obtain different behaviours from the coating with the same active ingredient.” Their work uses a technique brought to light over 15 years ago. This technique, developed by Gero Decher, head of the team at the Charles Sadron Institute, consists of “stacking” the layers with a nanometric precision. The structure and features of these layers are controlled by the sequence and nature of the components incorporated into the film.


Spray-on organic/inorganic films: A general method for the formation of functional nano- to microscale coatings. Mathias Lefort & Gabriela Popa, Emek Seyrek, Rafael Szamocki, Olivier Felix, Joseph Hemmerlé, Loïc Vidal, Jean-Claude Voegel, Fouzia Boulmedais, Gero Decher, Pierre Schaaf

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Novembre 2010

Scientific advances in line with current challenges