Copper island films have been prepared by thermal evaporation in vacuum and characterized by in situ as well as ex situ spectrophotometry. The parallel investigation of the island morphology by means of transmission electron microscopy allowed us to establish a clear correlation between film structure and optical properties. The effective optical constants of the copper island films could be determined by means of a fit of their ex situ transmission and reflection spectra. The effective optical constants have been used for designing and preparing optical multilayer coatings applicable for attenuator or color filter specifications. Measured characteristics of the multilayer coatings are in very good agreement with the calculated spectra
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