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The ionized physical vapor deposition technique uses a built-in rf coil to generate an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) between the target and substrate holder. For deposition of metallic species, a portion of the depositing atoms is ionized upon passing through the ICP. Since the input energy of the ICP is decoupled from the target, this technique also provides controllable ion bombardment during film growth, in terms of bombarding ion flux and ion energy. An ionized physical vapor deposition system has been studied and fully characterized. The ICP was characterized using a single passive probe method, and the plasma parameters, including electron temperature, plasma potential, and plasma ion density, have been measured. The ionization fraction of the depositing metal flux as a function of deposition parameters has been measured using the single passive probe method and a self-developed parallel-plates method. A simplified one-dimensional model was developed and compared favorably with the measured ionization fractions. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.