Soft‐x‐ray photoemission spectroscopy was used to monitor the uptake of oxygen on the (110) faces of HgTe, Hg0.69Cd0.31Te, and CdTe during the formation of roughly two monolayers of oxide. The oxidation was activated by a hot filament in line‐of‐sight of the sample surface. The oxides formed contain Cd and Te; whereas, Hg is lost from the surface during the initial stages of oxide formation. The rate of oxidation for the Hg0.69Cd0.31Te sample was found to be 69% as great as that for the binary HgTe, and lower than observed for CdTe. The scaling of oxidation rate with the number of Hg–Te bonds between HgTe and the x=0.31 alloy, together with the observed release of Hg upon oxidation, suggests the importance of breaking the Hg–Te bond as a step in the oxidation process. Evidence for an unstable character of the oxide on the Hg containing compounds is also presented.

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