Polycrystalline films have wide variety of applications in which their grain structures affect their performance and reliability. Thin film growth techniques and growth conditions affect grain shapes, the distribution of grain sizes, and the distribution of the crystallographic orientations of grains. Variations in these structural properties are affected by the conditions under which grain nucleation, growth, coarsening, coalescence, and thickening occur. General trends in structural evolution in polycystalline films, as a function of processing conditions and materials class, are discussed in terms of these fundamental kinetic processes.
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