Pyrochlore free Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O-3 (PMN) thin films were prepared from alkoxide-based solution precursors. The influence of different seeding layers and chemical solution on the microstructures is shown. Dielectric, electrostrictive, and piezoelectric properties of the films were characterized in detail. Films show relaxor-like behavior, but with dielectric permittivity which is low (around 4000 at peak) compared to bulk ceramics and single crystals. Several parameters which might be responsible for this lower permittivity are suggested. Electrostrictive coefficients, M and Q, were determined by measuring strain S and polarization P as a function of the electric field (E-ac). At large fields (>2.6x10(6) V/m), S vs P-2 appears to deviate from linear behavior possibly suggesting that the electrostrictive coefficient Q becomes nonlinear in this field range. Investigated as-prepared PMN films exhibit piezoelectric response in the absence of a dc electric field (d(33)=8-20 pm/V). The value of the associated self-polarization in the films is estimated and its presence confirmed by zero-field pyroelectric measurements. The self-polarization and the piezoelectric coefficient are strong functions of the ac field amplitude. Asymmetry of S vs E-ac and d(33) vs E-dc loops are related to the self-polarization. An ac field induces shift in P vs E loops along the field axis. This increase in the coercive field is associated, through a simple model, with the presence of the self-polarization. (C) 2001 American Institute of Physics.