TiN films were prepared by reactive sputtering of titanium in a gas mixture of argon and nitrogen using a sputter gun. The properties of the sputtered films were investigated with Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, electrical resistivity and optical reflectivity measurements, X-ray diffractometry and transmission electron microscopy. For a given input power to the sputter gun the film properties depend on the gas composition, the bias voltage applied to the substrates and oxygen contamination during sputtering. In addition, it was found that powering the sputter gun with r.f. causes an iron contamination in the films by material sputtered off the plasma confinement shield. This contamination is very much reduced when d.c. is employed to power the sputter gun. © 1983.