Kawasaki, M.; Makino, T.
non-equilibrium growth has rekindled the recent extensive investigation and progress in the field of ZnO epitaxy. In this special issue, Ohtomo and Tsukazaki, Cho et al, and Yi et al, respectively, describe the various fabrication processes such as pulsed laser deposition, molecular-beam epitaxy and metal-organic chemical vapour deposition. It should be noted that the last work among the above-mentioned papers has the potential to pave the way to nano-technology based on ZnO. This material has found other important applications as well, such as transparent conducting oxides (TCO). This field has a long research history, as is reviewed by Minami. Relatively speaking, ZnO was one of the earliest crystals (after Si, Ge, and InSb) to be prepared in a pure form, and the resultant long research history has given rise to the availability of large-area substrates. Recent progress in this topic is explained by two representative groups of authors in this field: Nause and Nemeth at Cermet Inc., and Maeda et al at Tokyo Denpa Co. Ltd. In order to overcome the bottleneck of p-type conduction and control the material's properties, a clear understanding of the physical processes in ZnO is necessary. Look et al are known as the first group to report on the growth and properties of p-type ZnO layers with a valid and reasonable set of experimental data (2002 Appl. Phys. Lett. 81 1830). Here, Look contributes a more comprehensive review to this issue. Optical studies on single crystals were conducted and are reviewed here by Meyer et al and Chichibu et al. Band-gap engineering and fabrication of heterojunction or quantum structures are important technological issues. It should be emphasized that by choosing an appropriate set of concentrations (x and y), perfect lattice-matching between MgxZn1-xO and CdyZn1-yO can be attained (Makino T et al 2001 Appl. Phys. Lett. 78 1237). Exciton properties of multiple quantum well structures are reported by Makino et al in this issue. Other than