The Er-carrier interaction and its effects on the Er3+ photoluminescence properties of erbium-doped Si/SiO2 superlattices are investigated. The interaction between the erbium atoms and the electronic carriers was controlled by doping erbium into the SiO2 layers only and by depositing buffer layers of pure SiO2 between the erbium-doped SiO2 layers and the Si layers. We demonstrate that by controlling the erbium-carrier interaction, a three orders of the magnitude enhancement of the Er3+ luminescence intensity and a nearly complete suppression of the temperature-induced quenching of Er3+ luminescence can be achieved while still allowing the Er3+ ions to be excited by the carriers. We identify the asymmetry between the dominant carrier-mediated excitation and the de-excitation paths of Er3+ ions as the possible cause for the observed effects. (C) 2000 American Institute of Physics. [S0003-6951(00)02324-X].