A CDE Definition
A microscopically thin layer of material that is deposited onto a metal, ceramic, semiconductor or plastic base. Typically less than one micron thick, thin films can be conductive or dielectric (non-conductive) and are used in myriad applications. For example, the top metallic layer on a chip and the coating on magnetic disks are thin films. Thin films of photovoltaic material using silicon, cadmium telluride and other elements are used to make solar panels and solar roof shingles. See sputtering.
A popular method for adhering thin films onto a substrate. Sputtering is done by bombarding a target material with a charged gas (typically argon) which releases atoms in the target that coats the nearby substrate. It all takes place inside a magnetron vacuum chamber under low pressure. See thin film.
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