A new method is realized for the growth of self-formed quantum dots. We identify that dislocation-free islands can be formed by the strain from the strained superlattice taken as a whole. Unlike the Stranski-Krastanow (S-K) growth mode, the islands do not form during the growth of the corresponding strained single layers. Highly uniform quantum dots can be self-formed via this mechanism. The low temperature spectra of self-formed InGaAs/GaAs quantum dot superlattices grown on a (001) GaAs substrate have a full width at half maximum of 26-34 meV, indicating a better uniformity of quantum dot size than those grown in the S-K mode. This method can provide great degrees of freedom in designing possible quantum dot devices. 1998 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.