Abstract

The properties of a thin film of a given material depend on the film’s real structure. The real structure is defined as the link between a thin film’s deposition parameters and its properties. To facilitate engineering the properties of a thin film by manipulating its real structure, thin-film formation is reviewed as a process starting with nucleation followed by coalescence and subsequent thickness growth, all stages of which can be influenced by deposition parameters. The focus in this review is on dielectric and metallic films and their optical properties. In contrast to optoelectronics all these film growth possibilities for the engineering of novel optical films with extraordinary properties are just beginning to be used.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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