Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O-3 (PMN) alkoxide precursor solutions were synthesized and used to prepare thin films by spin coating on TiO2/Pt/TiO2/SiO2/Si substrates. Many parameters like the use of homogeneous and stable precursor solutions and appropriate processing were used to greatly reduce the presence of the nonferroelectric pyrochlore phase. Transmission electron microscopy investigations, dielectric, electrostrictive, and direct current field induced piezoelectric measurements were carried out and have shown that PMN thin films exhibit a relaxor-like behavior. (C) 1998 American Institute of Physics. [S0003-6951(98)03142-8].