We are studying the boron nitride system by using a pulsed excimer laser to ablate from hexagonal BN (hBN) targets to form cubic BN (cBN) films. We are depositing BN films on heated (600°C) silicon (100) surfaces in a flowing (0- 10 sccm) ambient background gas of either NH3 or N2 of varying partial pressure (0–100 m Torr). Infrared (IR) reflection spectroscopy indicates the films have short-range hexagonal order. Some films grown at low laser energy densities have shown the cubic phase in IR transmission. Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) indicates the films are nitrogen deficient, which is linked to changes in the target stoichiometry with increasing laser fluence. Raman spectroscopy on the films shows only a strong background luminescence suggesting a high concentration of defects associated with the nitrogen vacancies. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) of the films shows a surface morphology that roughens as the growth rate increases. In order to improve the film stoichiometry it was necessary to actively enhance the nitrogen content of the films. It was found that bombarding films during growth with ions from an ion gun filled with NH3 gas increased the N/B ratio but did not enhance the cubic phase. RF biasing the substrate gave films which showed both cubic and hexagonal features in IR reflection. High resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirms the presence of cBN grains of ∼ 200Å size in films grown with an RF bias.