Excimer laser ablation provides the micromachining engineer with a unique tool for patterning, cutting, and structuring a wide variety of materials, including ceramics, glasses, and polymers. The short pulse (20 ns) ultra violet laser beam is used for nonthermal ablative material removal producing structures with a depth resolution of the order of 0.1 micrometers and spatial resolutions of the order of 1 micrometers or better. Careful control of laser dose (usually done using CNC systems) enables multi-level machining to be performed producing 3D microstructures which may be used directly, or as mold tools for laser-LIGA replication. This talk aims to illustrate both the possibilities, and limitations, of micormachining by excimer laser ablation, and will highlight some practical examples of structures and devices manufactured using this tool, many of which are currently in or near commercial production.© (1995) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.