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The effects of charge accumulation during bias sputtering of copper onto an insulating material are studied. To eliminate the effects of charge accumulation, we periodically apply a pulse bias to the electrode. Microstructure and electrical properties of the sputtered copper films grown on silicon dioxide are measured as a function of the pulse bias frequency. By comparing the observed properties of these films grown under a pulse bias to those grown under a dc bias (with a conducting path to the electrode), the effectiveness of the pulse bias in controlling the ion energy distribution is demonstrated. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.