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(100) silicon thin films grown on (1ī02) sapphire substrates is the most significant of the silicon-on-insulator technologies and has been used for many years in the production of integrated circuits. This paper presents a TEM study of the evolution of crystalline defects during the heat treatments designed to improve the quality of the films. Planar defects were found to be isolated to the outer surface of the films, whilst dislocations were abundant throughout. Defect density was considerably reduced by annealing at higher temperatures.