Oriented LiNbO 3 thin films have been prepared by pulsed laser deposition on fused silica substrates under a proper low electric field. The as-grown films were characterized by means of X-ray diffraction θ-2θ scans, X-ray photo-electron spectrometry and atomic force microscopy. Significant effects of the substrate temperature and magnitude of the applied electric field on the orientation of the films are revealed, demonstrating the preferred electric field of ∼7 V/cm and substrate temperature of 600°C. Drastic influence of the substrate temperature on the stoichiometry of the thin films is also shown. The as-prepared thin films show quite good surface quality. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.