Abstract Ionoluminescence (IL) and photoluminescence (PL) spectra for different rare earth ions (Sm3+ and Dy3+) activated YAlO3 single crystals have been induced with 100MeV Si7+ ions with fluence of 7.81×1012ionscm−2. Prominent IL and PL emission peaks in the range 550–725nm in Sm3+ and 482–574nm in Dy3+ were recorded. Variation of IL intensity in Dy3+ doped YAlO3 single crystals was studied in the fluence range 7.81×1012–11.71×1012ionscm−2. IL intensity is found to be high in lower ion fluences and it decreases with increase in ion fluence due to thermal quenching as a result of an increase in the sample temperature caused by ion beam irradiation. Thermoluminescence (TL) spectra were recorded for fluence of 5.2×1012ionscm−2 on pure and doped crystals at a warming rate of 5°Cs−1 at room temperature. Pure crystals show two glow peaks at 232 (Tg1) and 328°C (Tg2). However, in Sm3+ doped crystals three glow peaks at 278 (Tg1), 332 (Tg2) and 384°C (Tg3) and two glow peaks at 278 (Tg1) and 331°C (Tg2) in Dy3+ was recorded. The kinetic parameters (E, b s) were estimated using glow peak shape method. The decay of IL intensity was explained by excitation spike model.