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The effect of gold (Au) on the crystallization, dielectric constant, leakage current density, and tunability of dielectric constant of barium strontium titanate (BST) thin films was demonstrated. The leakage current density of BST films is greatly reduced by the Au dopant over a range of biases. The improved tunability of dielectric constant under electrical field for Au-doped BST films was also observed. The distribution of gold inside the BST grains not in the grain boundaries is confirmed by the electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) technique of transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The evidence suggested that the gold resides within the lattice of BST and additional internal lattice stresses could be expected in addition to catalysis effect and large electronegativity of gold. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.