Undoped and lithium (Li)-doped ZnO films were prepared by sol-gel method using spin coating technique. The effects of Li content on the crystallinity and morphological properties of ZnO films were assessed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). XRD patterns of the films showed the hexagonal wurtzite type polycrystalline structure and that the incorporation of lithium leads to substantial changes in the structural characteristics of ZnO films. The SEM and AFM measurements showed that the surface morphology of the films was affected from the lithium incorporation. The wrinkle network was observed on the surface from both SEM and AFM results for undoped ZnO. The wrinkle structure disappeared with increasing Li content. The absorption spectra of the ZnO and 5% Li-doped ZnO (LZO5) films were carried out between 140 and 400 K temperatures. The optical band gap of ZnO and LZO5 films (calculated at various temperatures) showed a linear dependence on the temperature. The absolute zero value optical band gap and the rate of change of the band gap with temperature of the ZnO and LZO5 films were found to be 3.339 and 3.322 eV, and 2.95 x 10(-4) and 1.60 x 10(-4) eV/K, respectively. The transport mechanisms in the ZnO and LZO5 films have been investigated by analyzing of the temperature (80-300 K) dependence of the conductivity. The activation energies of the ZnO film increased with Li content. (C) 2010 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.