The next generation of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) requires new materials and platforms that can exploit the intrinsic properties of advanced materials and structures, such as materials with high thermal conductivity, broad optical transmission spectra, piezoelectric properties, and miniaturization potential. Therefore, we need to look beyond standard SiO2-based silicon-on-insulator (SOI) structures to realize ubiquitous MEMS. This work proposes using AlN as an alternative SOI structure due to several inherent material property advantages as well as functional advantages. This work presents the results of reactively sputtered AlN films on a Si handle wafer bonded with a mirror-polished Si device wafer. Wafer bonding was achieved by using hydrophilic wafer bonding processes, which was realized by appropriate polymerization of the prebonding surfaces. Plasma activation of the AlN surface included O2, Ar, SF6, SF6 + Ar, and/or SF6 + O2, which resulted in a change in the chemical and topography state of the surface. Changes in the AlN surface properties included enhanced hydrophilicity, reduced surface roughness, and low nanotopography, components essential for successful hydrophilic direct wafer bonding. Wafer bonding experiments were carried out using promising surface activation methods. The results showed a multilayered bonding interface of Si(Device)/SiO2/ALON/AlN/Si(Handle) with fluorine in the aluminum oxynitride layer from the proceeding AlN surface activation process. More notably, this work provided wafer bonding tensile strength results of the AlN alternative SOI structure that compares with the traditional SiO2 SOI counterpart, making AlN to Si direct bonding an attractive alternative SOI platform.