The formation of a metastable phase in Al59Ge41 thin films under microsecond laser irradiation is reported. Thin films prepared by co-sputtering are amorphous as-grown. Upon laser processing, amorphous and crystalline phases are detected and analysed using TEM and EDX. A metastable structure formed by laminar-textured aluminium alternating with an hexagonal metastable phase is observed. © 1987 Chapman and Hall Ltd.