Abstract Single-phase ceramics YBa 2Cu 3O 7 produced by the solid-state sintering and used as a target at ion-plasma deposition of films was studied by the X-rays analysis, optical microscopy and microhardness measurement. Following changes occurred in the target during its use: 1. 1-grains having the < 00 1 > orientation along the normal to the surface of the target were predominantly etched away by sputtering from the surface of the target; 2. 2 — Y 2BaCuO 5 compound appeared; 3. 3 — nonuniform distribution of oxygen appeared along the cross-section of the target.