Using the self-assembly and functional properties of surfactant and lipids, we seek to create functional soft matter surface coatings. We predominantly focus on biomimetic coatings that impart biocompatibility and/or specific biofunctionality to solid surfaces. These can include planar surfaces for the creation of biosensors and surface coatings for inorganic nanoparticles rendering them water-dispersible and biocompatible while additionally providing the means to encapsulate or embed an active agent. In each case we aim to understand the role of lipid phase, composition, organization, structure and rigidity/ fluidity on the coating functional properties. Other research areas include the self-assembly properties of macrocycles and nanoparticles into electronically and optically active films.