The technology of fabricating optical thin films has been very dynamic over the years, and the prospects for the future are of more exciting advances to be expected. Many coating problems are being addressed in universities and industrial laboratories alike. Also, new technological advances, some of which are fallout from the space program, can be expected. In this section, we review a few of the current areas that hold some promise of changing the state of the coating art and some of the implications that these advances have for the users of these coatings.
The conditions under which a coating is deposited determine the quality of the thin film coating. The surface mobility of the arriving species is usually an important parameter in the physics of the deposition and nucleation process. At low temperatures, the arriving atom or molecule does not move very far from the initial point of contact with the substrate before it loses its kinetic energy. If the substrate is hot, the atom or molecule can migrate over a larger area before becoming immobile, thus increasing its chances of finding a nucleation site with the lowest possible energy state.
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