To study the effects of plasma chemistries on etch characteristics. and plasma-induced damage to the optical properties, dry etching of ZnO films has been carried out using inductively coupled plasmas of Cl-2 /Ar, Cl-2 /H-2 /Ar, and CH4 /H-2 /Ar. The CH4 /H-2 /Ar chemistry showed a faster etch rate and a better surface morphology than the Cl-2-based chemistries. Etched samples in all chemistries showed a substantial decrease in the PL intensity of band-edge luminescence mainly due to the plasma-induced damage. The CH4 /H-2 /Ar chemistry showed the least degradation of the optical properties.