Undoped zinc oxide thin films were grown at room temperature using two techniques: plasma deposition (PD) and electron beam evaporation in an argon atmosphere. PD offers some advantages, such as low ion damage and low deposition temperature. The optical transmittance of the films deposited by both methods was higher than 80% in the near UV–VIS range; the energy band gap and index of refraction agree with values reported in the literature. The resistivity of films grown by PD was 3.1 × 10−2 Ω cm, lower than the value of 1.2 × 10−1 Ω cm found for plasma assisted e-beam evaporated films. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.