The effect of excimer laser annealing on the formation of luminescent nanocrystal Si (nc-Si) embedded in Si/SiO2 superlattice is investigated. An amorphous Si/SiO2 superlattice consisting of 20 periods of 2 nm thin Si layers and 5 nm thin SiO2 layers was deposited on Si using electron cyclotron resonance plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. Excimer laser annealing alone did not result in any nc-Si luminescence even at an energy density sufficient to melt the Si layers. However, if the nc-Si is preformed by a thermal anneal, subsequent excimer laser annealing will result in a threefold increase of the nc-Si luminescence intensity. The temperature dependence of the nc-Si luminescence spectrum, lifetime, and intensity indicates that excimer laser annealing activates luminescent nc-Si by removing defects and amorphous regions in thermally crystallized Si layers without significant changes in the size or shape of nc-Si. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.