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Sol-gel has emerged in the late 20th century as an alternative soft method to produce ceramic materials from inorganic molecular precursors without going through a drastic thermal treatment step. Later it was revealed that it does not only apply to silica materials but also to almost all other types of metal oxides and some non-oxides. Today it is a growing alternative green chemistry with a market of 2 billions euros and a compound annual growing rate of 8%. Amongst these, sol-gel coatings cover above 90% of the latter market and touch many industrial and technological domains from applied biomedical to quantum physics. Sol-gel is particularly well-adapted to thin-film processing as a result of the possibility to perfectly tune and control the rheology of the initial chemical solution to allow for perfect shaping of the materials prior to solidification. In sol-gel thin film processing, precursors and other solutes can be of different nature and form, but have to be dissolved or suspended in the liquid. The film is formed through evaporation-induced consolidation of the homogeneous wet layer after deposition, but is often completed by an additional treatment (thermal, chemical…). The method is very flexible and allows (i) complex chemical deposition, (ii) multilayer processing, (iii) porosity control, and (iv) lateral and in depth gradients generation.

Click here to view exemples of Thin Film Coatings

Click here to view ACEdip 2.0 - The most advanced Sol-Gel Dip-coater