Pulsed laser deposition has become an important technique to fabricate novel materials. Although there is the general impression that, due to the pulsed deposition, the growth mechanism differs partially from continuous physical and chemical deposition techniques, it has hardly been used. Here, we will introduce a growth method, based on a periodic sequence: fast deposition of the amount of material needed to complete one monolayer followed by an interval in which no deposition takes place and the film can reorganize. This makes it possible to grow in a layer-by-layer fashion in a growth regime (temperature, pressure) where otherwise island formation would dominate the growth. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.