Interfacial microstructure and phase composition of PtTiGePd ohmic contacts to heavily C doped AlGaAs were investigated as a function of annealing temperature. Results of the material analyses were used to explain the specific contact resistances measured for each thermal treatment. Evidence of interdiffusion and compound formation between AIGaAs and Pd was visible in a Ga rich Pd-Ga-As reaction zone prior to heat treatment. This phase is critical for the formation of Ga vacancies, which upon heating are occupied by in-diffusing Ge. As the annealing temperature was elevated, from 530 - 600°C, As began to out-diffuse. This As out-diffusion, which is critical to the formation of good p-type ohmic contacts, contributed to the creation and development of the two phase TiAs/Pd12Ga2Ge5 interfacial region overlying the AlGaAs substrate. In response to the enhanced As out-diffusion at 600°C, the interfacial region became laterally continuous, compositionally uniform, and the specific contact resistance achieved its minimum value. Athigher annealing temperatures, ∼650°C, the electrical measurements degraded in response to intensive chemical diffusion and development of a broad, non-uniform multi-phased interfacial region.