In this study, the effects of post-annealing on the structure, surface morphology and nanomechanical properties of ZnO thin films doped with a nominal concentration of 3 at.% Ga (ZnO:Ga) are investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nanoindentation techniques. The ZnO:Ga thin films were deposited on the glass substrates at room temperature by radio frequency magnetron sputtering. Results revealed that the as-deposited ZnO:Ga thin films were polycrystalline albeit the low deposition temperature. Post-annealing carried out at 300, 400 and 500 degrees C, respectively, has resulted in progressive increase in both the average grain size and the surface roughness of the ZnO:Ga thin film, in addition to the improved thin films crystallinity. Moreover, the hardness and Young's modulus of ZnO:Ga thin films are measured by a Berkovich nanoindenter operated with the continuous contact stiffness measurements (CSM) option. The hardness and Young's modulus of ZnO:Ga thin films increased as the annealing temperature increased from 300 to 500 degrees C, with the best results being obtained at 500 degrees C. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.