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Compositionally step-graded InGaAs/GaAs(0 0 1) buffers with overshooting (OS) layers were evaluated by several characterization techniques for higher efficiency metamorphic III-V multijunction solar cells. By high-resolution X-ray diffraction, we found that fully relaxed or tensile strained top layers can be obtained by choosing appropriate OS layer thickness. Moreover, from real-time structural analysis using in situ X-ray reciprocal space mapping (in situ RSM), it was proved that the top layer is almost strained to the OS layers, and it is independent of the thicknesses of the OS layers. Dislocations in the vicinity of the OS layers were observed by transmission electron microscopy, and the validity of results of in situ RSM was confirmed from the viewpoint of misfit dislocation behavior. Finally, by photoluminescence measurements, we showed that tensile strained top layers may be suitable for the improvement of minority-carrier lifetime.