The effects of oxygen pressure on the structural and optical properties of high quality transparent conductive ZnO thin films were studied in detail. ZnO thin films were prepared by pulsed filtered cathodic vacuum arc deposition system under various oxygen pressures on glass substrate at room temperature. With increasing oxygen pressure, the structure and optical properties of films change. The structural and optical properties of the ZnO thin films were investigated using X-ray diffraction, transmittance spectrometry, refractive index, oscillator parameters, energy band gap and Urbach tail. The films show c-axis oriented (0 0 2) hexagonal wurtize crystal structure. It has been found that the grain size of ZnO thin films increases from 16.9 to 22.6 nm with the increase of oxygen pressure from 3.8 x 10(-4) to 6.9 x 10(-4) Torr and the crystallinity is enhanced. Average transmittance is about 90% in the visible region of the ZnO thin films. From optical transmittance spectra of ZnO films, the absorption edge shifts towards the taller wavelength with an increase in oxygen pressure. The energy band gap decreases from 3.31 to 3.20 eV with an increase in oxygen pressure. The packing density investigation shows in ZnO films high packing densities (above 0.78) can be obtained. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.