When film deposition is accompanied by bombardment by low energy (less than a few 100 eV) particles, the resulting film nucleation, growth, stress content, adhesion, density, composition, morphology, and crystal structure may be significantly altered. Current methods for providing the energy‐assisted conditions for film growth are described. Recent selected results are given demonstrating all the above features together with a discussion of the fundamental reasons for the improved film quality. Selected applications of the novel materials that can now be created on various substrates to improve friction, wear, corrosion resistance, and optical qualities are presented. The review concludes with an outline of future trends.

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