We have investigated molecular-beam-epitaxy-grown, pseudomorphic Si1-yCy epilayers (y≤0.015) on Si(001) after ex situ annealing by x-ray scattering at grazing incidence. The diffuse intensity around the Si (220) surface reflection consists of Huang scattering due to the long-range displacement field of substitutional carbon atoms and of the form-factor-induced small angle scattering of holes created by β-SiC precipitates in the Si matrix. Even in the as-grown samples, where other methods gave no indication of β-SiC precipitates, grazing incidence diffraction clearly showed their presence. The precipitates with a mean size of 5 Å are stable against annealing up to at least 600 °C; at 800 °C carbon leaves substitutional sites and the number of precipitates increases, whereas at 1000 °C a significant increase of the precipitate size (up to ≈15 Å) is detected as well. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.