Thick adherent dielectric films deposited on plastic substrates for use as a thermal barrier layer to protect the plastic substrates from high temperatures which, for example, occur during laser annealing of layers subsequently deposited on the dielectric films. It is desirable that the barrier layer has properties including: a thickness of 1 .mu.m or greater, adheres to a plastic substrate, does not lift-off when cycled in temperature, has few or no cracks and does not crack when subjected to bending, resistant to lift-off when submersed in fluids, electrically insulating and preferably transparent. The thick barrier layer may be composed, for example, of a variety of dielectrics and certain metal oxides, and may be deposited on a variety of plastic substrates by various known deposition techniques. The key to the method of forming the thick barrier layer on the plastic substrate is maintaining the substrate cool during deposition of the barrier layer. Cooling of the substrate maybe accomplished by the use of a cooling chuck on which the plastic substrate is positioned, and by directing cooling gas, such as He, Ar and N.sub.2, between the plastic substrate and the cooling chucks. Thick adherent dielectric films up to about 5 .mu.m have been deposited on plastic substrates which include the above-referenced properties, and which enable the plastic substrates to withstand laser processing temperatures applied to materials deposited on the dielectric films.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.