The waveguiding and 1.54 μm Er3+ photoluminescent properties of Er doped silicon-rich silicon oxide (SRSO) are investigated. Erbium-doped SRSO films, which consist of nanocrystalline Si clusters embedded inside Si0 2 matrix, were deposited by electron cyclotron resonance plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition of SiH4 and O2 with concurrent sputtering of erbium. The excess Si content of the SRSO films ranged from 0 to 10 at. %, and Er content ranged from 0.01 to 0.3 at. %. After deposition, films were rapid thermal annealed at temperatures between 750 and 1150°C for durations ranging from 2 to 20 min. to precipitate silicon nanoclusters. All films show strong room temperature 1.54 μm Er3+ photoluminescence. The luminescence lifetimes that can be > 6 msec. The refractive indices of the SRSO films range from 1.48 to 2.47, increasing with increasing excess Si content. Thus, waveguides can be formed easily by depositing erbium doped SRSO films on 1 μm thick SiO2 films. Furthermore, carrier-induced de-excitation mechanisms of excited erbium atoms in SRSO are nearly completely suppressed in such SRSO films, indicating that population inversion of Er3+ ions by carrier-mediated excitation is possible.