A method for a new universal nucleation-layer/diffusion barrier, which is based on amorphous films of Si--O and Si--N for ion-beam-assisted deposition (IBAD) process. Unlike other nucleation layers that were used in the past, this process works on a variety of substrates (glass, Hastelloy tape, Cu), with varying surface roughness, and with a wide range of thickness. In addition, this new material system of Si--O (and Si--N) is ideally suited for oxide (and nitride) based multilayer stacks. As importantly, the flexibility in nucleation layer thickness allows the nucleation layer to be an effective diffusion barrier, and to be grown at room temperature, while the IBAD layer and subsequent epitaxial layers can be grown much thinner than usual.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.