Epitaxial SrBi2Ta2O9 (SBT) thin films with well-defined (001), (116), and (103) orientations have been grown by pulsed laser deposition on (001)-, (011)-, and (111)-oriented Nb-doped SrTiO3 substrates. X-ray diffraction pole figure and phi -scan measurements revealed that the three-dimensional epitaxial orientation relation SBT(001)parallel to SrTiO3(001), and SBT[1(1) over bar 0]parallel to SrTiO3 is valid for all cases of SET thin films on SrTiO3 substrates, irrespective of their orientations. Atomic force microscopy images of the c-axis-oriented SET revealed polyhedron-shaped grains showing spiral growth around screw dislocations. The terrace steps of the c-axis-oriented SET films were integral multiples of a quarter of the lattice parameter c of SBT (similar to 0.6 nm). The grains of (103)-oriented SET films were arranged in a triple-domain configuration consistent with the symmetry of the SrTiO3(111) substrate. The measured remanent polarization (2P(r)) and coercive field (2E(c)) of (116)-oriented SBT films were 9.6 muC/cm(2) and 168 kV/cm, respectively, for a maximum applied electric field of 320 kV/cm. Higher remanent polarization (2P(r)=10.4 muC/cm(2)) and lower coercive field (2E(c)=104 kV/cm) than those of SBT(116) films were observed in (103)-oriented SET thin films, and (001)-oriented SET revealed no ferroelectricity along the  axis. The dielectric constants of (001)-, (116)-, and (103)-oriented SBT were 133, 155, and 189, respectively. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics.