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In the coming years, excimer lasers will play two important roles in microelectronic fabrication: as new light sources for submicron photolithography, and for direct surface patterning by ablation or etching. Using this latter application, results are presented for 248 nm excimer laser formation of micron‐sized patterns in several materials by image projection. Photoablation was used to produce patterning in polyimide and a fluorocarbon polymer, while micropatterning by photoetching is demonstrated in copper and silicon using chlorine vapor. The results are discussed both in terms of the optical characteristics of the projection apparatus, and from the point of material response.