In this study, Silicon (Si) and glass substrates were coated with Zinc sulfide (ZnS) using Thermionic Vacuum Arc (TVA) technique for the first time. With this technique, the coating time of the samples is very short and film thickness can be controlled during the coating process. Moreover, TVA provides many advantages to deposited thin films than other techniques such as compactness, low roughness, nanostructures, homogeneities as compared to other deposition techniques. This paper presents a different technique for deposition of high-quality ZnS thin films. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to characterize the coated silicon and glass surface morphologies. Additionally, transmittances, thickness and refractive indices of coated glass samples with ZnS were measured by ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer and interferometer to characterize their optical properties. (c) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.