Excimer laser ablation at 308 nm has been used to texture the surfaces of a variety of materials of interest for optoelectronic and biotechnological applications. Using a range of pre- and post-processing methods, we are able to produce nano-, micro- and meso-scale features over large areas rapidly in materials such as crystalline Si, porous silicon and TiO2. Texturing of porous silicon leads to the growth of crystalline dendritic structures, which distinguishes them dramatically from the conical pillars formed from crystalline silicon. Regular arrays of Si microdots are formed by irradiating a Si surface pre-covered with a Cr thin film grating. Nano-crystalline porous TiO2 films are easily ablated or compacted with laser irradiation. However, at low enough laser fluence, surface roughening without complete loss of porosity is possible.