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Chromium dioxide is deposited as a ferromagnetic layer onto selected portions of a substrate or over the entire substrate. Chromium hexacarbonyl vapor is introduced into a vacuum deposition chamber at e.g. 10 milliTorr and oxygen is introduced at e.g. 15 to 100 milliTorr. A UV laser beam is focused onto the substrate to form the CrO2 layer photolytically. The CrO2 layer can also be deposited by RF plasma deposition. This technique can also be employed for depositing MoC2, WC2, Mo2φ3, MoO2 or WO2. Magnetic recording or memory devices are produced without the high failure rate typical of the prior art sputtering technique.