Ge-based photodetectors operating in the telecommunication wavelength range (1.3-1.6 μm) of silica fibers are highly desirable for the development of optical interconnections on SOI substrates. We have therefore investigated the structural and optical properties of Ge thick films grown directly onto Si(001) substrates using a production-compatible Reduced Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition system. The thick Ge layers grown using a low-temperature / high temperature approach are in a definite tensile-strain configuration, with a threading dislocation density for as-grown layers of the order of 3×107 cm−2. The surface of those Ge thick layers is rather smooth, especially when considering the large lattice mismatch in-between Ge and Si. The root mean square roughness is indeed of the order of 2 nm only for as-grown layers. The layers produced are of high optical quality. An absorption coefficient α ≈10000 cm−1 @ 1.3μm (4500 cm−1 @ 1.55μm) has been found at room temperature for our Ge thick layers. A 30 meV bandgap shrinkage with respect to bulk Ge (0.77 eV ≎ 0.80 eV) is observed as well in those tensilestrained Ge epilayers.