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The threshold energy density for recrystallization of ion‐implanted silicon by Q‐switched laser irradiation has been measured as function of type and dose of implanted impurity, thickness of the disordered layer, temperature during implantation, and substrate orientation, using 2‐MeV He+‐backscattering plus channeling. Many of the observed effects can be ascribed to the dependence of photon absorption on degree of amorphization, layer thickness, doping level, and laser wavelength. The extent to which our findings can be explained by a strictly thermal model based on transient melting and freezing of a surface layer, is discussed. Qualitatively, our results do not disagree with this model.