A comprehensive model of the nucleation, growth, and dissolution of B clusters in Si is presented. We analyze the activation of B in implanted Si on the basis of detailed interactions between B and defects in Si. In the model, the nucleation of B clusters requires a high interstitial supersaturation, which occurs in the damaged region during implantation and at the early stages of the postimplant anneal. B clusters grow by adding interstitial B to preexisting B clusters, resulting in B complexes with a high interstitial content. As the annealing proceeds and the Si interstitial supersaturation decreases, the B clusters emit Si interstitials, leaving small stable B complexes with low interstitial content. The total dissolution of B clusters involves thermally generated Si interstitials, and it is only achieved at very high temperatures or long anneal times. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.