The fifth conference in the Nanostructured Thin Films series took place in San Diego (California, USA) between 14 and 16 August 2012. Around 50 works were submitted in total. The range of topics included nanostructured solar cells, fundamentals and applications, theoretical studies, biomimetic nanostructures, fabrication and characterization, optical detection, and sculptured thin films. The works were distributed over 10 sessions of oral presentations and a poster session. The presented research represented activity from all continents of the world.