The impact of rapid thermal annealing (RTA) in producing samples by sequential implantation of Si and Er ions into a 200 nm SiO2 layer combined with different annealing cycles as well as the corresponding roomerature visible and infrared photoluminescence (PL) have been studied. The Er-related PL intensity at 1533 nm for the samples prepared by implanting Si with subsequent annealing, followed by Er implantation, and final annealing (type I) was found to be stronger than the one produced similarly but without the first annealing step (type II). In fact, the 1533 nm peak intensity in the optimized RTA processed sample is comparable to the PL yield of the furnace-annealed sample. Moreover, the excitation wavelength (405 nm) was found to be suitable for exciting the Si=O related point defects in the SiO2 layer and can provide a PL band with a maximum at ∼580 nm. While this band was further intensified in the presence of Si nanocrystals (Si NCs), it became weaker by introducing additional Er3+ ions with a concomitant rise of the 1533 nm Er PL, confirming the visible range pumping of Er3+. The detailed spectral analyses suggest that the 580 nm band is the result of the excitation/deexcitation mechanism in molecule such as states in the Si=O or the Si=O state mediated recombination of carriers in Si NCs according to the model proposed by [Wolkin, Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 197 (1999)]. The samples were further characterized by transmission electron microscopy and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The time-resolved PL measurements and a modeling by rate equations were also performed to determine and justify the energy migration mechanism from Si NC to the neighboring Er3+. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.