The structural properties of as-grown and rapid thermal oxidized Si1-x-yGexCy epitaxial layers have been examined using a combination of infrared, x-ray photoelectron, x-ray diffraction, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy techniques. Carbon incorporation into the Si1-x-yGexCy system can lead to compressive or tensile strain in the film. The structural properties of the oxidized Si1-x-yGexCy film depend on the type of strain (i.e., carbon concentration) of the as-prepared film. For compressive or fully compensated films, the oxidation process drastically reduces the carbon content so that the oxidized films closely resemble to Si1-xGex films. For tensile films, two broad regions, one with carbon content higher and the other lower than that required for full strain compensation, coexist in the oxidized films. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.