We report on the growth of WSi2 and Si amorphous thin films by dc magnetron sputtering. In situ synchrotron x-ray scattering with high temporal resolution has been employed to probe the surface and interface roughness during film deposition. It is found that the WSi2Si multilayer surface alternately roughens and smoothes during deposition; while the Si layer roughness monotonically, the WSi2 layer is observed to smooth out when deposited on an initially rough surface. Subsequent deposition of the next layer effectively freezes in the surface morphology of the previous layer in each case. Energetic neutrals and ions assisting the growth may play a role in inducing this pronounced alternating pattern in the roughness.

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