Raman scattering has been used to estimate the critical layer thickness and to analyze the alloying effect on strain relaxation in InxGa1-xAs layers grown by molecular beam epitaxy on InP -oriented substrate, for x ranging from 0.0 to 1.0. Measurements of longitudinal optical GaAs-like phonon frequency and Raman linewidth showed that the indium/gallium ratio contents greatly influences the strain relaxation. A comparison between Raman and x-ray diffraction measurements of relaxation ratios as a function of layer thickness is presented. The results can be explained in terms of the combined effect of strain and chemical and structural disorder. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.