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Enhancement of interdiffusion in GaAs/AlGaAs quantum wells due to anodic oxides was studied. Photoluminescence, transmission electron microscopy, and quantum well modeling were used to understand the effects of intermixing on the quantum well shape. Residual water in the oxide was found to increase the intermixing, though it was not the prime cause for intermixing. Injection of defects such as group III vacancies or interstitials was considered to be a driving force for the intermixing. Different current densities used in the experimental range to create anodic oxides had little effect on the intermixing. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.