(Fe50Pt50)100-x–(Si3N4)x (x=0–50 vol. %) nanocomposite thin films are prepared by dc and rf magnetron cosputtering of FePt and Si3N4 targets on silicon wafer substrates, then annealed in vacuum at various temperatures. The effects of Si3N4 volume fraction, film thickness, and annealing temperatures on the magnetic properties are investigated. Transmission electron microscopy analysis indicated that structurally the film is an amorphous Si3N4 matrix with spherical FePt particles dispersed in it. The particle size of FePt increases with the annealing temperature but decreases with increasing Si3N4 content. Magnetization measurements indicated that maximum in-plane squareness and coercivity occurs at 30 vol. % of Si3N4 after annealing the film at 750 °C for 30 min. The average particle size of FePt in this film is about 40 nm. Saturation magnetization of the FePt–Si3N4 film is independent of film thickness but inversely proportional to the Si3N4 volume fraction. Variation of the f- ilms’ coercivity with film thickness is small. In contrast, the magnetic hardening mechanism and coercivity of the FePt–Si3N4 composite film are dependent on the Si3N4 volume fraction. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.