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Infrared absorption spectra of 108 borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG) thin films produced in a multiple-wafer low-pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) reactor were collected to enable the development and testing of a rapid and inexpensive method for determining if films are within the desired specifications. Classification of samples into good and bad product categories was made by applying principal component analysis to the spectra. Mahalanobis distances were used as the classification metric. The highest overall percentage of correct classification of samples based upon their spectra with two-step classification was 95%. The misclassified samples were, however, within the error of the reference methods that were used in making the original classification against which the infrared (IR) classification methods were tested. The classification errors are thus just as likely to be a result of misclassification by the reference method rather than errors by the IR classification. Although reference measurements were used in this article for the original classification of the samples, these expensive and time-consuming reference methods can be eliminated simply by building classification models on samples determined to produce a product within the correct device specifications. The IR classification methods presented here hold great promise as a tool for rapid quality control of BPSG deposition. © 1997 American Vacuum Society.