Confocal Raman microscopy has recently developed into a routine tool for the depth profiling of polymeric materials, providing microscopic (molecular) level characterization of surfaces and interfaces. A spatial resolution of 1 - 2 micrometers is easily attainable with modern instrumentation. The use of such an instrument is illustrated by describing recent work from the author's laboratory. (1) The distribution and redistribution of small molecules in polymeric materials. (2) The measurement of concentration gradients at a polymer- polymer interface. (3) The probing of a diffusion of a silane primer to a polymer/glass interface. (4) The quantification of the surface selectivity of chemical treatments for modification of polymer surface properties. It is demonstrated that the technique has tremendous potential as a tool for future materials analysis across a broad area.© (2000) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.