A process and system for use during the growth of a thin film upon the surface of a substrate by exposing the substrate surface to vaporized material in a high vacuum (HV) facility involves the directing of an electron beam generally toward the surface of the substrate as the substrate is exposed to vaporized material so that electrons are diffracted from the substrate surface by the beam and the monitoring of the pattern of electrons diffracted from the substrate surface as vaporized material settles upon the substrate surface. When the monitored pattern achieves a condition indicative of the desired condition of the thin film being grown upon the substrate, the exposure of the substrate to the vaporized materials is shut off or otherwise adjusted. To facilitate the adjustment of the crystallographic orientation of the film relative to the electron beam, the system includes a mechanism for altering the orientation of the surface of the substrate relative to the electron beam.
 This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-96OR22464 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, and the Government has certain rights in the invention.