It is shown that diamond nucleation on iridium buffer layers followed by an appropriate textured-growth step offers a viable way to realize single-crystal diamond films. Bias-enhanced nucleation on iridium layers results in heteroepitaxial diamond films with highly improved alignment. By a subsequent textured-growth step, the mosaicity can be further reduced for tilt as well as for twist in sharp contrast to former experiments using silicon substrates. Minimum values of 0.17° and 0.38° have been measured for tilt and twist, respectively. Plan view transmission electron microscopy of these films shows that, for low thicknesses (0.6 μm and 8 μm), the films are polycrystalline, consisting of a closed network of grain boundaries. In contrast, at the highest thickness (34 μm) most of the remaining structural defects are concentrated in bands of limited extension. The absence of an interconnected network of grain boundaries shows that the latter films are no longer polycrystalline. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.