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Atomic layer deposition (ALD) has been studied for several decades now, but the interest in ALD of metal and nitride thin films has increased only recently, driven by the need for highly conformal nanoscale thin films in modern semiconductor device manufacturing technology. ALD is a very promising deposition technique with the ability to produce thin films with excellent conformality and compositional control with atomic scale dimensions. However, the applications of metals and nitrides ALD in semiconductor device processes require a deeper understanding about the underlying deposition process as well as the physical and electrical properties of the deposited films. This article reviews the current research efforts in ALD for metal and nitride films as well as their applications in modern semiconductor device fabrication. © 2003 American Vacuum Society.