Two techniques for dry etching of sol-gel lead zirconate titanate (PZT 52/48) thin films were investigated: reactive ion etching and argon ion milling. Etched profiles were characterized by scanning electron microscopy. For reactive ion etching, a parallel plate etcher was used with HC2ClF4, an environmentally safe etch gas, in a process described by other researchers. Etch rates were measured and compared as a function of electrode shield material (ardel, graphite, alumina) and RF input power (100 to 500 W). These etch rates varied from 10 to 100 nm/min. Reactive ion etched sidewall angles 12° off normal were consistently produced over a wide range of RF powers and etch times, but overetching was required to produce a clean sidewall. For argon ion milling, a 300 mA/500 V beam 40° off normal to the substrate operating in a 72 mPa argon pressure was used. These ion milling conditions produced an etch rate of 250 nm/min with a sidewall slope angle of about 70°. The ion milling etch rate for sol-gel PZT was significantly faster than rates reported for bulk PZT. The 500 nm thick PZT films used in this study were prepared by the sol-gel process that used methoxyethanol solvent, spin coating on t/Ti/SiO2 silicon substrates, and rapid thermal annealing for 30 s at 650 °C for crystallization of the perovskite phase.