Using a 100 MeV Au beam, the surface roughening kinetics of relaxed Si1-xGex alloy films for x = 0.5 and 0.7 are studied by means of ex-situ atomic force microscopy (AFM). Swift heavy ion (SHI) irradiation induced surface roughening behavior is demonstrated using the trend in variation of β as a function of fluence when the data are analyzed in terms of the Edwards-Wilkinson (EW) model. By employing the EW model, the observed surface roughening is explained on the basis of the competition between SHI induced sputtering and smoothening through redeposition of the sputtered atoms. The composition dependent variation of surface morphology with increasing fluence is discussed in the light of the strain distribution along the sample surface. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.