structural defects induced by He implantation in GaN epilayer at high fluence (1 X 10(17) He/cm(2)) and elevated temperature (750 degrees C) have been studied by conventional and high resolution transmission electron microscopy. In addition to the planar interstitial-type defects lying in the basal plane usually observed after high fluence implantation into GaN, a continuous layer of bubbles arranged in rows parallel to the implanted surface is observed in the region of maximum He concentration. This arrangement of bubbles is ascribed to interactions with dislocations. Beyond, one dimensional rod-shaped defects appear perpendicular to the implanted surface. Contrast analysis of high resolution images and atomistic simulations gives converging results in the determination of the nature and structure of these defects, i.e., gas-filled rod-shaped cavities in an overpressurized state. (c) 2008 American Institute of Physics.