NiAl2O3 composite films of various compositions were deposited by planar magnetron-assisted r.f. sputtering. The films were deposited by sputtering hot-pressed NiAl2O3 targets of two different compositions. To increase the weight per cent of nickel, additional nickel pellets distributed uniformly on the target were cosputtered along with the target of known composition. Al2O3 and SiO2 were used as antireflecting coatings. The composition of nickel in the films was estimated using energy-dispersive analysis of X-rays and atomic absorption spectroscopy. A molybdenum or nickel backing layer was used as a high reflecting mirror. The optical constants were extracted from the near normal incidence reflectance (R) and transmittance (T). Optical simulations are presented of some specially adjusted spectral profiles and their experimental realization using a two-layer coating consisting of NiAl2O3 cermet film and SiO2 antireflecting film deposited onto a metallic substrate. An absorptance of 0.94 and emittance of 0.07 (at 100 °C) were obtained for a 650 Å NiAl2O3 film (fill factor, 0.61), coated with an antireflecting layer of 780 Å SiO2 or Al2O3 on a nickel-backed glass substrate, which was predicted by computer simulation studies. Films deposited on molybdenum coated nickel-plated stainless steel substrates were stable up to 500 °C in air.