The effect of rare-earth element (Sm) microalloying on the thermal stability and crystallization kinetics of melt-spun ribbons and suction-cast rods of Zr48Cu38.4Al9.6Sm4 alloy were investigated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atom probe tomography (APT). The XRD results of constant heating rate annealing indicated that amorphous Zr48Cu38.4Al9.6Sm4 melt-spun ribbons devitrifies into Cu2Sm at 673 K (400 A degrees C). The sequence continues with the precipitation of Cu10Zr7 and then these two phases coexist. XRD and TEM studies on 1 mm diameter as suction-cast rods indicated the precipitation of 30-nm-mean size Cu2Sm crystals during solidification. TEM investigation of the isothermal crystallization sequence of melt-spun ribbons and 1-mm-diameter suction-cast rods revealed the precipitation of Cu2Sm nanocrystals at the onset of crystallization and the restriction of the growth of these nanocrystals up to 10 nm diameter with further annealing. APT analysis of 1-mm-diameter suction-cast rods showed that the limited growth of Cu2Sm nanocrystals is due to sluggish diffusion of Sm and Al-Zr pile up at the interface.