The evolution of microstructure during Au-mediated solid phase epitaxial growth of a SiGe alloy film on Si(001) (c-Si) was investigated by in situ resistance measurements, X-ray diffraction, conventional and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and chemical microanalyis. Annealing a-Ge/Au bilayers on c-Si to temperatures below 120°C caused changes primarily in the microstructure of the Au film. Increases in temperature to ≃150°C resulted in the diffusion of Ge through the grain boundaries of Au. The Au, displaced by crystalline Ge at the grain boundaries, diffused along columnar voids of amorphous Ge (a-Ge) leading to the formation of Au-rich crystallites in the top layer. Results indicate that the Ge that had reached the Au/c-Si interface grew epitaxially on c-Si at temperatures below 150°C. As the temperature was further increased, some Si from the substrate dissolved into Au and got incorporated in the growing epilayer. At 310°C, the initial Au film was displaced completely by a laterally continuous Siξ Gei.ξ (ξ ∼ 0.2) epilayer whose thickness was limited by that of the initial Au film. Twins, and residual amounts of Au near the SiGe/c-Si interface, were the predominant defects observed in the SiGe epilayer.