High-throughput combinatorial investigations are transforming materials discovery, phase diagram development, and processing optimization. Thin-film deposition techniques are frequently used to fabricate sample libraries employed in these studies. Various adaptations of well-known thin-film chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and physical vapor deposition (PVD) techniques utilized for the synthesis of inorganic combinatorial thin-film materials libraries are reviewed, with novel processing approaches being highlighted. Methods for developing gradients in composition of other film properties are described. Issues and considerations specific to thin-film processing of combinatorial materials libraries are discussed, with some emphasis on catalytic applications.
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