Tin oxide (SnO2) thin films were deposited on UV fused silica (UVFS) substrates using filtered vacuum arc deposition (FVAD). During deposition, the substrates were at room temperature (RT). As-deposited films were annealed at 400 and 600 degrees C in Ar for 30 min. The film structure, composition, and surface morphology were determined as function of the annealing temperature using X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The XRD patterns of the SnO2, thin films deposited on substrates at RT indicated that the films were amorphous, however, after the annealing the film structure became polycrystalline. The grain size of the annealed films, obtained from the XRD analysis, increased with the annealing temperature, and it was in the range 8-34 nm. The AFM analysis of the surface revealed an increase in the film surface average grain size from 15 nm to 46 nm, and the surface roughness from 0.2 to 1.8 nm, as function of the annealing temperature. The average optical transmission of the films in the visible spectrum was >80% and increased by the annealing similar to 10%. The films' optical constants in the 250-989 nm wavelength range were determined by variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE). The refractive indexes of as-deposited and annealed films were in the range 1.83-2.23 and 1.85-2.3, respectively. The extinction coefficients, k(lambda), of as-deposited and annealed films were in the range same range similar to 0-0.5. The optical energy band gap (E-g), as determined by the dependence of the absorption coefficient on the photon energy at short wavelengths, increased with the annealing temperature from 3.90 to 4.35 eV. The lowest electrical resistivity of the as-deposited tin oxide films was 7.8 x 10(-3) Omega cm, however, film annealing resulted in highly resistive films. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.