A new method for the preparation of nanophased tellurides is described. It employs microwave heating for the synthesis of Cu(2-x) Te and HgTe. The copper telluride prepared by this method was a complex of Cu(2-x)Te and ethylenediamine, which decomposes into pure Cu(2-x)Te following annealing at 280°C. A mechanism for the micowave-assisted formation of the tellurides is proposed. (C) 2000 Academic Press.