A patterned metal thin film was synthesized based on a new approach that allows the formation of thin films with complex shape, hierarchical organization, and controlled size under ambient conditions in an aqueous environment. By using a general coating system, a CaCO3 thin film was transformed into a patterned metal thin film with functional properties, such as adhesion and hydrophobicity. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and surface-profiling experiments were carried out to measure the adhesion between the probe tip and the substrate and to determine the film thickness. Separation of the patterned ceramic thin film occurred very easily by means of sputtering and chemical treatment with an acidic solution. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.