Two commonly used passivants of Hg0.8Cd0.2Te, the anodic oxide and ZnS, have been studied by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy combined with ion sputtering. Chemical depth profiles of anodic oxide films of 360 to 1600 A showed that the oxide composition is constant with depth and independent of oxide thickness. Chemical shifts and line shape analysis of the Cd M45N45N45 Auger transition in the oxide, CdO, Cd(OH)2, and CdTeO3 demonstrate that CdTeO3 is the major constituent of the anodic oxide. The oxide composi-tion is interpreted as 44% CdTeO3, 29% CdTe2O5, 17% HgTeO3, and 10% HgTe2O5. Anodization of HgCdTe depletes the semiconductor of 30% - 40% of its Hg near the interface. The spatial extent of this Hg depletion is a function of oxide thickness for thin oxides (<1000 A) but is a constant (150-200 A) for thick films. No significant change in the Cd concentration is seen. A ZnS film deposited on a chemically etched sample forms a graded interface of a (ZnHgCd)Te alloy. In this case, no Hg depletion is seen. Deposi-tion of ZnS on an anodized substrate in high vacuum leads to a reaction of the Zn with the residual 02 in the chamber to form ZnO on the anodic oxide before the ZnS. The ZnO then diffuses throughout the anodic oxide.