Layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly is one of the most ubiquitous coating techniques today. It also offers a pathway for multi-functional/ multi –component materials with molecular scale control of stratified structures. However, some technological applications of LBL are impeded by aqueous nature of the process.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a method to carry out the entire process of LBL assembly in ionic liquids in order to avoid the undesirable processes related to the effects of water on surfaces and materials. Polymers, nanocolloids, biological, and other materials may be dispersed in ionic liquid and a substrate be coated by sequentially dipping in the dispersion/ solution of the two or more components with strong affinity to each other. During the process, the materials adsorb ob the substrate following the typical LBL fashion, and the cycle may be repeated as many times as necessary building up the film layer to the appropriate thickness and functional properties.
Applications and Advantages
- Manufacturing of electronic coatings
- LBL films may be separate from the substrate and manufactured as free-standing films