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Elastic recoil detection analysis, using an incident beam of 200 MeV Au ions, has been used to measure indium nitride films grown by radio-frequency sputtering. It is shown that the films have nitrogen-rich stoichiometry. Nitrogen vacancies are therefore unlikely to be responsible for the commonly observed high background carrier concentration. Ultraviolet Raman and secondary ion mass spectroscopy measurements are used to probe the state of the excess nitrogen. The nitrogen on indium anti-site defect is implicated, though other possibilities for the site of the excess nitrogen, such as molecular nitrogen, or di-nitrogen interstitials cannot be excluded. It is further shown that a shift in the (0002) x-ray diffraction peak correlates with the excess nitrogen, but not with the oxygen observed in some samples. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.