J.M. Martínez-Duart, O.Sánchez Garrido and R. Martín Palma

In this brief course, we treat the most recent developments on the science of thin films and surface engineering for the preparation of coatings with new or improved properties. The first part is dedicated to thin film deposition techniques such as physical vapor deposition (PVD), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), the new class of high density plasma sources including electron cyclotron resonance (ECR), laser ablaton and ion-beam assisted processes. In the second part we treat the most useful techniques for the structural and chemical characterization of thin films: Auger spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy, scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy, etc. In the last part we review the applications of thin films in several technological fields including: hard coatings, corrosion resistant coatings, films for high temperature applications, solid lubricant coatings, films for biomaterial applications, dielectric and magnetic films, optical coatings, and thin films for micro- and opto-electronic applications.