Buried insulating silicon nitride layers are formed by a 400°C N+-implantation at 150 keV with fluences from 0.35 to 1×1018 N+/cm2 and subsequent anneal at 1200°C in dry nitrogen. TEM and AES measurements on bevelled samples yield a correlation of ion and damage profiles to local defect structures. Low dose implantation results in polycrystalline precipitates of scaled spherulitic structure. High dose continuous polycrystalline nitride layers have good insulation properties following a 5 hour anneal. During anneal, the common asymmetrical ion depth profile transforms to a nearly rectangular profile. The silicon surface layer contains 106 to 108 dislocations/cm2, which seem to be passivated, since detrimental effects on electronic devices have not been measured.