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In this paper we review work we have done at the IBM Almaden Research Center using the scanning tunneling microscope to understand the epitaxial growth of metal films. In particular, we explore the important role of deposit-substrate interactions in controlling growth and film structure, both by strain of the substrate and by place-exchange intermixing. These are illustrated first by the growth traits of Au, Ag, Ni, and Fe on Au(111) and their relationship to the herringbone reconstruction. Au on Ag(110) is presented as a clear example of spontaneous penetration of the substrate by deposited material at room temperature. Fe on Cu(100) is a more subtle example of the effect of place-exchange and of ways to observe it. The martensitic transformation of thicker Fe films on Cu(100) demonstrates the importance of bulklike structural changes in metastable epitaxial films.
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