The role of the size of amorphous silicon quantum dots in the Er luminescence at 1.54 μ m was investigated. As the dot size was increased, more Er ions were located near one dot due to its large surface area and more Er ions interacted with other ones. This Er-Er interaction caused a weak photoluminescence intensity, despite the increase in the effective excitation cross section. The critical dot size needed to take advantage of the positive effect on Er luminescence is considered to be about 2.0 nm, below which a small dot is very effective in the efficient luminescence of Er. © 2005 The Electrochemical Society. All rights reserved.