Transferable high performance nanofilms for self-cleaning

ANU researchers have developed a coating solution with superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic properties that allows the substrate to be coated following manufacture.

Background

Nanostructured coatings have a range of applications in many different fields but current manufacturing processes are costly, complex, require expensive infrastructure and are fabricated directly on the substrate of interest, thus limiting the ability to tailor the functionality to different parts of the surface.

Technology

Researchers from ANU have developed a multi-layered film system that overcomes these limitations, as the coating can be manufactured indepedent of the substrate. A functional layer with the desirable characteristics is synthesised on a sacrificial dissolution layer attached to a support or scaffold, then an adhesive layer is synthesised on top. The multilayer coating can then be applied to the substrate with heat and/or pressure, and, once applied, the sacrifical dissolution layer and scaffold can be easily removed with water or other solvent. The nature of the adhesive layer can be tailored to the characteristics of the target material. To date, novel functional layers varying from superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic functionality have been successfully integrated into the multi-layered film system.

The film system has potential applications in sectors such as aerospace, marine, automotive, construction, optics, microfluidics, textiles and healthcare.

Advantages

  • Enables coating to be independently synthesised of the substrate
  • Based on low-cost, scalable processes of electrospinning and flame spray pyrolysis
  • Easily tailored - mechanism of adherence and dissolution of sacrificial layer, and characteristics of the functional layer can be optimised for specific applications
  • Adds durability to delicate ultraporous functional layers with high-performance characteristics
  • Can be easily removed and reapplied if required

Opportunity

ANU is seeking to license this technology, with key targets identified as (1) customers or partners that have a need for this technology to transfer their functional films to a surgace or attached a nanofilm onto a specialised surface that cannot be coated using current technologies, or (2) customers or partners that have a need for tailored self-cleaning, rose-petal, anti-wetting or anti-fogging solutions. We also welcome feedback from industry across sectors on additional applications for this technology, and are well-placed to work with partners to optimise these systems for their specific applications.