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The effect of hydrogen dilution on deposition of a‐SiC:H from silane/ethylene mixtures has been investigated by analyzing deposited films using optical absorption and x‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements. Film deposition rate and stoichiometry are found to be sensitive to the hydrogen dilution rate and it is proposed that ethylene decomposes through a two stage reaction with atomic hydrogen. Films with similar stoichiometries deposited using different combinations of ethylene, silane, and hydrogen and are found to have the steepest optical absorption edge when the ethylene/silane ratio is low and when the hydrogen partial pressure fraction is at 80%–85% of the total pressure. XPS measurements show that the density of SiC bonds increases as the slope of the optical edge becomes steeper.