Patterns of different electrical conductivity can be converted into three-dimensional lithographic structures taking advantage of differential etching behavior of the electrically conducting versus the insulating areas under reactive ion etching conditions. Particularly suited substrates are intrinsically conducting polymers and composites thereof with common, insulating polymers. Initially, electrically conducting images are obtained via exposure of a photosensitive composite to visible of UV-light, followed by a subsequent (`dry') development step in the vapor of a suited monomer. The electrically conducting areas experience RIE-type etching and thus etch faster in an oxygen plasma than the insulating sections.© (1992) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.