Ion plating is a deposition process whereby high energy ions of plating material are extracted from a plasma at high energy and applied as diffusion coatings to a negatively charged substrate. Ion plating is done in a vacuum and offers an extremely wide choice of material combinations and very fast deposition rates. Thick films of refractory compounds can be ion plated onto surfaces without changing the roughness or topography of the surface. Excellent throwing power offers uniform film thickness even with three-dimensional substrates. The economics of ion plating make it attractive both for decorative and functional applications.