Surface layers with overall thickness <∼300 nm were produced by ion implantation of N+ or N2
+ at energies of 50 or 100 keV in 99.99% pure aluminum. These surfaces were characterized by scanning and transmission electron microscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy, Rutherford backscattering, nuclear reaction analysis and particle-induced X-ray analysis. At doses above 2×1017 N2/cm2 , blistering of the surfaces was observed along with a reduction in the extent of the coulometric dose retained by the material. Oxygen is believed to be introduced into the near-surface region by a process of reaction and ion-beam mixing, as well as possible CO contamination of the beam. A phase, isostructural with AlN, forms semi-coherently with parent aluminum grains, however, some fraction of the metallic aluminum phase remains in the reaction layer, even at overall nitrogen contents which exceed the stoichiometry of AlN.