Thin films are layers of material ranging from fractions of a nanometer to several micrometers in thickness. They are mainly used in semiconductor devices and as optical coatings, for example in solar panel production.
However, the American artist Larry Bell also uses thin films for his cubes that are made of glass and that have been treated through thin film deposition. This process takes place in a vacuum chamber. Vaporized metal alloys settle on the glass surface. Bell does this to enhance the transparent and reflective properties of the glass.
Bell is by far not the first artist to utilize thin films. More than 2,000 years ago, artists and artisans already used thin films of gold and silver for the coating of statues and other objects.