1.54 mu m Er3+ photoluminescent and waveguiding properties of erbium-doped silicon-rich silicon oxide (SRSO) are investigated. Optimum Er3+ luminescence was obtained after an anneal of at least 5 min at 950 degrees C, and at least 1 at. % excess silicon in SRSO was necessary for the excitation of erbium to be dominated by carriers. The refractive index and the bulk waveguide loss of erbium-doped SRSO film with 0.1 at. % erbium and 1 at. % excess silicon after the optimal anneal treatment was 1.4817 and 4.0 dB/cm, respectively. Fabrication of an erbium-doped SRSO strip waveguide using the standard Si processing techniques and the guiding of internal 1.54 mu m Er3+ emission by such a strip waveguide are demonstrated. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics. [S0021-8979(00)01215-9].