Université Louis Pasteur (ULP) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (C.N.R.S.), Institut Charles Sadron, 6 rue Boussingault, F-67083 Strasbourg Cedex, France
Layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly  is an easy to use method for the fabrication of multicomposite films and has kindled widespread interest in such nanohybrids [1-7]. Electrostatic interactions between anionic and cationic compounds (e. g. synthetic or natural polyions such as polyelectrolytes, DNA, proteins or even colloids) offer four major advantages:
As an introduction to the (LBL) technique, the guiding principles of multilayer assembly will be presented and details of the film structure will be discussed. Since the technique allows to interface a wide variety of (bio)materials with predefined spatial arrangement, it has successfully been introduced to both materials science and applied bio-sciences. For this presentation we will focus on work in which individual layers are trapped in their respective position, on polyions which can diffuse and on films containing barriers layers. Furthermore we will dicuss the design of surfaces in contact with biological materials or environments. This will include work on films composed of natural or semi-synthetic polyions such as charged polypeptides or polysaccharides some of which has been carried out in close collaboration with the groups of P. Schaaf (ICS) and J.-C. Voegel (INSERM U 424). Finally, we will report on the influence of the chemical composition of polyelectrolyte multilayers on adhesion, survival and morphology of rat spinal motoneurons, summarizing work which has been carried out in close collaboration with J.-P. Majoral (Toulouse) and J.-P. Ternaux (Marseille).