Abstract In this paper, photoluminescence (PL) of ZnO thin films prepared on c-Al2O3 substrates by the pulsed laser deposition (PLD) method at different O2 partial pressures is investigated. For all samples, a narrow ultraviolet (UV) emission and a broad visible emission can be observed at room-temperature (RT). With increasing O2 partial pressures from 0.2 to 5Pa, the intensity ratio of the UV to visible emissions increases, and the energy positions of the UV emission band shift to the high energy side. It is noted that the visible part includes two emission bands of green luminescence (GL) and yellow luminescence (YL), in which the GL emission is strong at low oxygen pressure and the YL emission becomes dominant at high O2 partial pressures. The temperature-dependent PL spectra show that the UV emission is composed of two bands labeled FX and FA. The dependences and possible assignments of these PL bands are briefly discussed.