Thin films of ZnO have been deposited on glass and silicon substrates by the pulsed laser deposition technique employing a KrF laser (λ=248 nm). The influence of the deposition parameters, such as substrate temperature, oxygen pressure, and laser fluence on the properties of the grown films, has been studied. All the films grown over a rather wide range of deposition conditions were found to be optically transparent, electrically conductive, and c‐axis oriented, with the full width at half‐maximum (FWHM) of the (002) x‐ray reflection line being very often less than 0.25°. Under optimized laser fluence and oxygen pressure conditions, highly c‐axis oriented films having a FWHM value less than 0.15° and optical transmittance around 85% in the visible region of the spectrum have been grown at a substrate temperature of only 350 °C. These are among the best properties yet reported for ZnO films grown by any technique at such a low temperature. © 1994 American Institute of Physics.