|Definition:|| technology that forms thin films on a substrate
Noteá1 to entry: A thin film is a film formed on a substrate by means of vacuum deposition or ion sputtering, or similar processes. The film thickness ranges from a layer of single atoms or molecules, to 5 Ám in thickness. Usually the term "thin film technology" refers to films of a thickness of 1 Ám or less. A thin film can change properties such as colour, reflectivity, and friction coefficient of the substrate, while the shape of the substrate is left practically unchanged. Phenomena such as optical interference and surface diffusion are noticeably affected by the formation of thin films. Thin film formations usually take a nonequilibrium, heterogeneous nuclear formation step, which brings on structural properties different from those of bulk materials produced under ordinary equilibrium conditions. In one application, thin film technology combined with etching improved the degree of integration of a thermal printer head that was conventionally manufactured by thick film technology.