Thin films prepared under low-adatom-mobility conditions have many industrial applications, and their use continues to proliferate. With the continually increasing prominence of thin-film technology over the past several decades, quantitative preparation-morphology-property relationships have received a great deal of attention. However, the lack of a suitable quantitative model for thin-film morphology remains a major stumbling block. The properties of thin films can often vary by orders of magnitude depending on the deposition conditions and are generally quite different than those of the bulk material. This is because thin films are nonideal material systems in terms of bond distortion, coordination changes, point defects, dislocations, compositional nonhomogeneities and impurities, grain boundaries, and disordered voids and void networks . These features are controlled by the basic parameters and processes in PVD - temperature, bombardment by energetic particles, chemistry, and geometry of the deposited adatoms - the manipulation of which underlies the engineering of desired STF morphologies.
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