Thin compliant growth substrates have been used to reduce the strain in lattice-mismatched overlayers during epitaxial growth. This letter reports a new thin compliant substrate technology which allows these thin substrates to be patterned on the bottom, bonded surface. This lateral strain variation (inverted stressor) in the growing film can be combined with the additional effects of strain-dependent growth kinetics to realize the lateral control of composition and thickness without any surface topography on the substrate. Initial demonstrations of the growth of InGaAs on GaAs bottom-patterned thin substrates are presented herein. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.