We studied the thermal stability of the as-deposited Hf Ox Ny thin films on the Ge substrate by employing rapid thermal annealing. After undergoing high-temperature processing, we observed several interesting physical and electrical features presented in the Hf Ox Ny Ge system, including a large Ge out-diffusion (>15 atom %) into high- k films, positive shift of the flatband voltage, severe charge trapping, and increased leakage current. These phenomena are closely related to the existence of Ge Ox defective layer and the degree of resultant GeO volatilization. We abated these undesirable effects, especially for reducing the amount of Ge incorporation (<5 atom %) and the substoichiometric oxide at dielectric-substrate interface, through performing N H3 plasma pretreatment on the Ge surface. These improvements can be interpreted in terms of a surface nitridation process that enhanced the thermal stability of the high- kGe interface. In addition, we measured that the conductance loss in inversion was still high and it revealed independence with respect to gate bias, reflecting the fact that the minority carriers in Ge can rapidly respond either through a diffusion mechanism or through midgap trap states residing in Ge bulk substrates.