beta-FeSi2, thin films were grown on Si(100) and Si(111) substrates at room temperature by magnetron sputtering and beta-FeSi2/Si heterojunctions were thus prepared. The target and substrates were cleaned by a neutral molecule source (NMS). Surface properties of beta-FeSi2/Si heterojunctions were characterized with Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Crystalline structures of the films were determined by X-ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS). beta-FeSi2 films were found to be polycrystalline in nature, and structural parameters were evaluated from the XRD pattern. Surface morphology and crystallinity of the template layers were found to depend on the surface conditions of the substrate. AFM observations showed that the surface structure of the film grown on (I 11) oriented substrates appears to be more ordered than that of films grown on (100) substrates. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.