A system and method of depositing coatings on a substrate includes providing a substrate in contact with air, and providing a plasma source (12) having a housing (16) surrounding a first electrode (18) and a second electrode (20) spaced from the first electrode. A plasma is generated by applying a signal to the first electrode and exciting a gas between the first electrode and the second electrode. A substantially uniform flux of at least one reactive specie is generated over an area larger than 1 cm.sup.2. The plasma is emitted into the air and toward the substrate. Various embodiments of the system and method allow high speed deposition of coatings on even thermally-sensitive substrates without the need of a chamber enclosing the substrate.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
 This invention was made with government support under grant no. DE-FG07-00ER45857, awarded by the Department of Energy, and grant no. CTS-9821062, awarded by the National Science Foundation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.