Coating technologies of solid surfaces depend strongly on the adhesion between the molecules of the coating material and the substrate. This makes most of the coating methods highly surface specific. In the recent years two coating methods at solid-liquid interfaces, the alternated deposition of polyelectrolytes (and other polymers and/or nanoparticles) and the mussel inspired adhesion of so called “polydopamine” films have gained attention for versatility not only with respect to the nature of the substrate on which they can be deposited but also with respect to the manner in which the coating can be applied. The same holds true for the repertoire of applications afforded by these coatings. The aim of the present review is to explain why the “layer-by-layer deposition of polyelectrolytes” (and also of charged colloids) as well as the deposition of catecholamine-based films can be applied to a vast repertoire of surfaces and how these coating methods can be coupled with several other coating methods such as self-assembled monolayers, grafted polymer brushes and spin-coating.
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