High intensity laser pulses offer key means for the growth of novel photonic structures exhibiting passive, but also active optical functionalities. New materials and complex structures are developed by pulsed laser deposition by utilizing the highly energetic multi-component laser plasma. Additionally, reactive sputtering methods and the flexible control of growth conditions offer the potential to tune the materials structure on growth, thus yielding unique properties in the finally produced device. Purely epitaxial thin film waveguides for laser sources and nanocomposite thin layer and composite multi-layer structures for dynamic hologram recording and physicochemical sensing have been demonstrated. Spatially selective and precise laser ablation offers unique opportunities and opens up new avenues for surface processing and microfabrication commencing with the realization of surface etched and, especially, printed passive and active diffractive micro- and potentially nano-structures.