We demonstrate doping of nanocrystalline CdS thin films with Co ions by ion implantation at an elevated temperature of 573 K. The modifications caused in structural and optical properties of these films are investigated. Co-doping does not lead to amorphization or formation of any secondary phase precipitate for dopant concentrations in the range of 0.34-10.8 at.% used in the present study. However, we observe a systematic reduction in the d-spacing with increasing cobalt concentration. Optical band gap of CdS does not show any obvious change upon Co-doping. In addition, implantation gives rise to grain growth and increase in the surface roughness. The results are discussed in the light of ion-matter interaction in the keV regime. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010.