Wurtzite type AlN thin films were grown on Si (100) substrates at substrate temperatures (S.T.) varying from RT to 600 °C using DC reactive magnetron sputtering by keeping the parameters such as Ar/N 2 , power and target to substrate distance (TSD) constant. Evolution of preferred orientation of the deposited films was studied by GIXRD and a-axis orientation was observed at 400 °C. The residual stress measurement of these films was carried out by sin 2 ψ technique and they varied from tensile to compressive (R.T. to 600 °C). Highest hardness (H IT ) was observed for 400 °C as 20 GPa, whereas highest modulus was observed for 600 °C as 264 GPa. © 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.