Thin film interactions between a-(Ni-Nb) and polycrystalline Au over-layers have been studied with high depth resolution (≤1.7nm) Rutherford backscattering (RBS) and TEM to obtain information on the early stages of reaction at the interface. The RBS spectra from Au indicated that the interdiffused samples consisted of two layers: an Au-Nb binary layer on the surface and a ternary Au-Ni-Nb compound layer beneath the binary layer. The growth kinetics of the ternary compound layer differed in samples which had been relaxed prior to Au deposition from the kinetics for unrelaxed samples. Furthermore, cross section TEM micrographs showed that relaxed and unrelaxed samples exhibit different microstructures after the early stages, of annealing. We interpret this result to indicate that the reaction stages in relaxed samples are not as advanced as those in the unrelaxed samples.