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Plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) was used in the development of silica layers for use in planar lightwave circuit fabrication. These high-rate (>200 nm/min) processes are tailored specifically for the thick-film (5∼15 μm) films required for these applications A GeH4 addition to the process was used to deposit the core layer, controlling the core-clad refractive index (RI) difference in the range of 0.2%-1.65%. Undoped SiO2 and Ge-doped SiO2 films up to 10 μm have been deposited on to 4" Si <100> wafers. The 'as deposited' and 'annealed' film properties: film uniformity, RI, RI uniformity and stress have been compared. The upper cladding layer in an optical planar waveguide is typically formed using boron and phosphorus doped films (BPSG) which provides the necessary reflow characteristics. Refractive index uniformity of ±0.0003 across 4" silicon wafers was achieved on all films after annealing. The core layer was shown to be capable of producing optical losses of <0.1 dB/cm when processed into a waveguide.