Abstract The program involved the synthesis of alumina-dispersed copper prepared by high rate physical vapor deposition. Dual-source electron beam heating was employed to evaporate OFHC copper and high purity alumina. The vapors intermixed and then condensed on a stationary preheated substrate to produce thick films. Fully dense deposits (up to 0.2 cm thick) with a very fine distribution of the oxide phase (particle size less than 40 Å) were obtained at a maximum deposition rate of about 4000 Å s −1. Glass and metallic substrates were used over a range of surface roughnesses. The substrate temperature and the evaporation rates for the two sources were varied. The microstructure and surface topography were characterized by metallography, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Crystallographic texture was studied by X-ray diffraction. Compositions were determined by the electron microprobe, spectography and mass spectrometric gas analysis. Very encouraging results were obtained, and this process is clearly a rival to the conventional powder metallurgy process. The structure was extremely refined. In general, the morphology agreed with the Movchan-Demchishin model. The surface topography gave evidence of interesting nucleation and growth phenomena influenced by varying amounts of alumina. Excellent transmission electron micrographs showed the fine-grained (grain size about 1 μm) matrix and the particle distribution even for deposits with very low amounts (0.1 vol.%) of alumina. The texture revealed intriguing results.