The thermolytic behaviour of trimethylsilyl trifluoromethanesulfonate, 1, trimethylsilyl trifluoroacetate, 2, and trimethylsilyl acetate, 3, has been investigated by ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy. Acetate 3 undergoes decomposition only to a small extent at 800 °C via the mechanism shown in Scheme 1 (X = Si); only acetic acid and starting material are detected. In contrast[Formula: see text]with this result, 1 and 2 decompose completely at 725–800 °C and yield products which cannot be derived via the mechanism shown in Scheme 1. Evidence is presented to support our proposal that the thermolysis of 1 yields trimethylsilyl fluoride, 6, and difluorooxathirane dioxide, 7, as primary products. The photoelectron spectra of 1, 2, 3, 6 and trimethylsilanol, 9, are presented. Molecular orbital eigenvalues of dimethylsilene, 4, dimethylsilanone, 5 (calculated using AMPAC and Gaussian 82), 6 and 9 (AMPAC) are reported. Molecular orbital contour diagrams are given for selected MOs of 6 and 9.