A computer simulation program based on a segment-motion model has been developed to investigate thin-film-deposition processes. This simulation program is used to study the physical phenomena in the thin-film-deposition process as well as the effects of different tooling configurations and operating conditions. The simulated results are compared with experimental results obtained from an electron-gun evaporator with planetary tooling and from a planarizing sputtered quartz system to verify the accuracy of the simulation and to illustrate important phenomena during the deposition process. The simulation program is also used in exploratory studies to find the optimum source angle for step coverage in a typical planetary evaporator. The step coverage is found to change only slightly for wafers at different locations on the planet, but can change significantly depending on the pattern orientation on the wafers if the wafer rotation is not independent of the planet rotation. A study of the sputtered quartz planarization process shows that the growth of different topological features can be accurately predicted from the change in deposition and etching rate as a function of the angle of incidence. In particular, the increased deposition near a conductor edge is attributed to the propagation of a growth front from the sidewall boundary conditions. Copyright © 1980 by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.