This paper intends to develop and illustrate by a few examples the principles of thermodynamic analysis which can be applied at an early stage to assist in selecting the following:
• the material to be deposited for a well-defined application,
• the nature of reactants
• the range of experimental parameters.
Specific emphasis will be given to the main problems relating to data selection: assessments, availability of coherent data, sensitivity of results to data accuracy, etc.
Finally, the validity of a thermodynamic approach at equilibrium will be discussed with a view to optimizing a dynamic non-equilibrium process.