We report on ZnO epitaxial growth by pulsed-laser deposition (PLD) on different substrates, such as quartz, sapphire, and GaN template. Approximately 1 mu m-thick films were grown under different substrate temperatures and background oxygen conditions. X-ray diffraction analysis indicated preferential growth along the c-axis direction with a full-width at half maximum(FWHM) of the rocking curve as narrow as 230 arcs in the case of the GaN template. Low-temperature photoluminescence showed A-excitonic emission near 3.36 eV and a FWHM of (DXA)-X-0 emission as small as 2.89 meV at 9 K. Atomic force microscope measurements showed that roughness as low as 18 nm could be obtained. These results prove that PLD is a low-cost technique suitable to grow heteroepitaxial ZnO layers with excellent properties in terms of luminescence, crystallinity and morphology. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.