Germanium thin films were deposited by dc reactive magnetron sputtering as a function of substrate temperature and ion flux using an unbalanced magnetron with an external magnetic field. The ion flux and energy distribution were measured using a retarding field energy analyzer (RFEA), a flat probe with a guard ring, and cylindrical Langmuir probes. The RFEA ion flux, the flat probe saturation currents, and the ion densities inferred from the cylindrical probe data are in very good agreement over a wide range of plasma densities, which were varied both by the external coil current and discharge power. The RFEA ion energy distributions are in good agreement with the plasma potentials inferred from the cylindrical probes, and suggest that the nonuniformity of the plasma in the vicinity of the substrate holder should be considered in the interpretation of probe results in these systems. The deposited films were characterized by x-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, optical transmission, resistivity, and Hall effect measurements. Under low ion bombardment conditions, an abrupt onset of the crystalline phase with respect to temperature is observed in the Raman and x-ray diffraction measurements, and the crystal quality increases with increasing temperature above the transition temperature. The transition is also accompanied by a sharp decrease in film resistivity. The microcrystalline films have a strong preferential orientation in the (220) direction, and are p type with carrier densities in the range 1018 cm-3 and mobilities in the range 15–30 cm2/V-s. The structural and electronic properties of the films are sensitive to the ion flux. Near the transition temperature the effects of increasing ion flux can be attributed to the small temperature rise that accompanies the higher plasma density. At higher temperatures the increased ion flux results in a more random crystallographic orientation, with significantly lower carrier conce- - ntrations and only slightly lower carrier mobilities, implying either a reduction in acceptor defect density and/or the creation of compensating n-type defects.