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Atomic layer deposition (ALD) recently emerged as an enabling technology for microelectronic device fabrication. This technique provides the unique capability to deposit ultra thin films with the thickness control, uniformity, step coverage, and electrical/mechanical properties required to support device manufacturing at the 45 nm node and beyond. This paper will review the fundamentals of ALD processing and describe the equipment used. Applications of ALD in the fabrication of advanced gate stacks, on-chip capacitors, and thin film magnetic heads are presented.