Lancaster University’ Materials Science Institute & the GISMO (Greater Innovation for Smarter Materials Optimisation) programme are launching a “virtual” coatings laboratory from June XX. The lab links together a suite of plasma coating reactors that have been established across the Lancaster University campus under one “virtual” roof, with a single point of contact. The lab is launched to engage specifically with industry to provide coatings solutions.

Specifically, the coating lab addresses functional coatings for healthcare and life sciences:

  • Surface wettability and materials protection to liquids
  • To prevent biofouling by proteins, cells and microbes
  • For biomolecule (proteins, RNA/DNA and complex sugars) and cell binding
  • Anti-microbial, including anti-viral, proven against SARS-CoV-2

Plasma Coating

Plasma coating is a ubiquitous coating technology supporting products worth £bns pa. For more info on plasma coating – see X

The lab hosts four plasma reactor systems – that address the need for coatings from the ultra-thin (1nm) up to 100 nm for test samples to the prototype scale. The reactors themselves are physically located across three separate departments (Chemistry/Physics/Engineering) and are supported by world-class facilities for surface analysis and biological assessment (including virology) and by a team of experienced researchers.

Plasma polymer coatings are widely used in industry (e.g. contact lenses, juice cartons, headlights, scientific labware, etc). Plasma can be used to coat a wide range of substrates, including objects with complex geometry, texture and porous materials, and can provide a range of different functionality to a material.

Plasma polymerisation research at Lancaster is led by Rob Short, Professor and Director of the Materials Science Institute, who brings 30+ years’ experience in thin-film plasma coatings, biomaterial science and life science tools research. Rob has a track record of research and commercialisation, published over 250 papers and is an inventor on >10 distinct patents that underpin products sold globally.