Photoluminescence study was performed on indium–oxide (INO) nanoparticles dispersed within pores of mesoporous silica, annealed at different temperatures (from 500 to 850 °C). It was found that, for the dispersed INO nanoparticles, there exists a broad luminescence band, consisting of three peaks at about 430, 480, and 520 nm, spanning the whole visible region, in contrast to the aggregates of INO nanoparticles which exhibit no luminescence. This band increases with rise of annealing temperature up to 650 °C, at which the band reaches maximum. When annealing temperature is 700 °C, the whole band redshifts and peaks at about 545 nm. Annealing at higher temperatures leads to additional redshift and decrease of the luminescence band. It has been shown that the luminescence in this study is associated with the size and the structure of the INO particles within pores of porous silica. The peaks at 430, 480, and 520 nm originate from amorphous INO particles about 2, 4, and 6 nm in diameter. The 545 nm peak is attributed to crystallized INO particles with larger size. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.