Highly -axis oriented single-phase Na0.5K0.5NbO3 (NKN) thin films have been grown on polycrystalline Pt80Ir20 (Pt) and SiO2 (native oxide)/Si (111) substrates using KrF excimer laser ablation of a stoichiometric ceramic target. X-ray diffraction θ–2θ scan and rocking curve data are evidence of the strong effect of film self-assembling along the  direction regardless of the substrate texture. Furthermore, multiple-cell structuring along the polar axis has been observed in NKN films grown onto the Pt substrate. Ferroelectric measurements yield remnant polarization Pr of 10 μC/cm2 and spontaneous polarization Ps of 17.5 μC/cm2 at 80 kV/cm. The electrical resistivity of the Na0.5K0.5NbO3 film was in the order of 1010 Ω cm at 10 kV/cm. Dielectric permittivity ϵ′ and dissipation factor tan δ have been found to vary 480–440 and 0.028–0.024, respectively, in the frequency range 0.4–100 kHz. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.