Microwave afterglow plasma oxidation at a low temperature (600 °C ) and rapid thermal annealing (RTA) were combined to grow high quality ultra-thin dielectrics. This new approach has a low thermal budget. The mid-gap interface state density of oxides pretreated in N2O plasma was decreased to about 5×1010 cm−2eV−1 after rapid thermal annealing at 950 °C.It was found that RTA is very effective for relieving the oxide stress and reducing the interface state density. Nitrogen incorporated in oxides by the N2O plasma pretreatment of the Si surface helped to reduce the interface state density. Microstructures of ultra-thin oxide grown by microwave afterglow oxidation with or without RTA were revealed by extended-X-ray-absorption-finestructure (EXAFS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis.