The R&D activities at the IMST are devoted to the development of functional coatings based on polymeric, inorganic and nanocomposite materials. Coatings and coating procedures are developed for various substrates, including metals, ceramics, glass and polymers. We also work on NiTi shape memory alloys for medical applications, as well as on piezoelectric and pyroelectric materials for sensors and actuators.
Our activities on functional coatings span a wide range of applications, including
- functionalized coatings for medical appliances
- novel antibiofouling films for sub-sea monitoring systems
- solar-selective and thermochromic coatings,
- nanostructured films for photo- and electrocatalysis,
- nanostructured substrates for molecular detection using localized surface plasmons,
- anti-reflection coatings and bactericidal films (with leaching elements like TiO2-Ag films, and non-Leaching films with coupled bactericidal molecules).
Desirable functionalities derive from the proper choice of materials and from tailoring chemistry and topology (ordered porosity, control of structure dimensions..). The coatings are mainly processed using deposition from solution (electrochemical, sol-gel,..). The activities on NiTi-alloys are mainly concerned with surface treatments, particularly with coatings that can have locally tailored cell adhesion properties.
In the case of ferroelectric, piezoelectric and pyroelectric materials the emphasis in R&D is mainly placed on PMNT single crystals, PZT thick films, PVDF-TrFE and PVDF-TrFE-PZT composites. We have developed processing methods for thick films on various substrates for both PZT and PVDF-TrFE-PZT composites.