Aluminum nitride films were deposited, at 200 °C, on silicon substrates by RF sputtering. Effects of rapid thermal annealing on these films, at temperatures ranging from 400 to 1000 °C, have been studied. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) revealed that the characteristic absorption band of Al-N, around 684 cm-1, became prominent with increased annealing temperature. X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns exhibited a better, c-axis, (0 0 2) oriented AlN films at 800 °C. Significant rise in surface roughness, from 2.1 to 3.68 nm, was observed as annealing temperatures increased. Apart from these observations, micro-cracks were observed at 1000 °C. Insulator charge density increased from 2×1011 to 7.7×1011 cm-2 at higher temperatures, whereas, the interface charge density was found minimum, 3.2×1011 eV-1cm-2, at 600 °C. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.