The initial stages of SiC–SiO2 interface formation by low temperature (300 °C) remote plasma assisted oxidation (RPAO) on flat and vicinal 6H SiC(0001) wafers with Si faces have been studied by on-line Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). Changes in AES spectral features associated with Si–C and Si–O bonds are readily evident as oxidation progresses; however, there are no detectable AES features that can be attributed to C–O bonds. Initial oxidation rates as determined from AES data are greater for vicinal wafers than for flat wafers paralleling results for RPAO oxidation of Si. Devices fabricated on vicinal SiC wafers require an 1150 °C anneal in an H2 containing ambient to reduce defect densities from the 1013 to 1011 cm-2 range, consistent with termination of C atom step edge dangling bonds by H atoms. Devices prepared by thermal oxidation also require a 1150 °C anneal in H2 even though silicon oxycarbide regions with C–O bonds are formed in a transition region at the SiC–SiO2 interfaces. © 1997 American Vacuum Society.