Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action ITN HYCOAT

"HYCOAT- A European Training Network for Functional Hybrid Coatings by Molecular Layer Deposition”

HYCOAT is a European Training Network for Functional Hybrid Coatings by Molecular Layer Deposition, funded by the European Union in the framework of the H2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions – Innovative Training Networks. A coordinated effort of 10 beneficiaries and 16 partner organizations from 7 European countries (Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Spain), HYCOAT targets the development of novel precursor chemistries, processes, characterisation and modelling of MLD and the demonstration of hybrid coatings in four key high impact fields of application relevant for European industries, in packaging, biomedical, electronics and batteries.

The project

HYCOATHybrid materials engineered at the molecular scale can have synergetic properties, i.e. surpassing the performance of their individual inorganic and organic components. Thin films of hybrid materials will enable breakthroughs in several economically and socially relevant technological application areas of:

  • Packaging / encapsulation: providing pinhole-free, ultrathin, flexible coatings with unique mechanical properties (flexibility, stretchability, reduced brittleness), e.g. gas-barriers on organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).
  • Electronics: new materials with tailored mechanical and dielectric properties, e.g. for use as insulators in advanced integrated circuits or high-k gate dielectrics in flexible thin-film transistors. Additionally, cleverly constructed hybrid coatings could enable thermoelectric devices for conversion of waste heat into electric power.
  • Batteries: mechanically flexible electrolyte layers and buffer layers could enhance the rate performance, safety and cycling ability of Li-ion batteries that are crucial for mobile applications and wireless devices.
  • Biomedical applications: promoting cell growth/adhesion or imparting anti-bacterial functionalities. Such coatings would open up completely new horizons in sensing, diagnostics and medicine delivery.

Molecular Layer Deposition (MLD) is a vapour phase deposition technique for hybrid thin films based on successive self-limiting surface reactions. In several aspects, MLD resembles the now mainstream technique of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). However, where ALD is limited to exclusively inorganic coatings, the precursor chemistry in MLD is expanded to include organics and enables linking both types of building blocks together in a controlled way to build up organic-inorganic hybrid materials.

HYCOAT proposes a European approach to facilitate an interdisciplinary (chemistry, physics, engineering) and multi-environment (research centres, SMEs and large companies) context to train MLD researchers. Training will take place through research projects, courses and workshops, with the emphasis on self-directed, hands-on, collaborative learning. The research projects target the development of novel chemistries and tools for MLD and the demonstration of hybrid MLD coatings in four key high impact application fields (packaging, biomedical, electronics and batteries).


The key objective of HYCOAT is to create a group of exceptionally well-trained young researchers who have a deep understanding of all aspects of MLD technology, as well as broad vision on the application potential of hybrid coatings. Therefore, via training-through-research projects and training events, the consortium aims to

  • Objective 1: establish novel MLD deposition chemistries and process schemes,
  • Objective 2: enable fabrication of hybrid thin films with tailor-made and novel properties,
  • Objective 3: gain a deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms during MLD processes, and to
  • Objective 4: develop dedicated, industrially scalable reactor concepts for MLD-type processes.

    Role of Ghent University

    Ghent University coordinates the project, and will focus on the development and in situ characterization of novel MLD processes.



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