Thin poly-crystalline silicon films are attractive for the fabrication of active matrix liquid crystal displays. We investigate the use of flash lamp annealing to crystallize amorphous silicon layers on glass substrates as a low cost manufacturing route. In this process amorphous silicon (a-Si) can be crystallized by solid phase crystallization (SPC) or in the super lateral growth (SLG) regime. We present a thermal model incorporating the phase transitions during annealing; providing a valuable tool for optimizing the process conditions. Another consideration is the evolution of stress resulting from the transient thermal loading of the substrate material. Results are presented for various substrate geometries and important scalability issues are addressed.