The ablation characteristics of various polymers were studied at low and high fluences. The polymers can be divided into three groups, i.e. polymers containing triazene and ester groups, the same polymers without the triazene group, and polyimide as reference polymer. At high fluences similar ablation parameters, i.e. etch rates and effective absorption coefficients, were obtained for all polymers. The main difference is the absence of carbon deposits for the designed polymers. At low fluences (at 308 nm) very pronounced differences are detected. The polymers containing the photochemically most active group (triazene) exhibit the lowest threshold of ablation (as low as 25 mJ cm -2 ) and the highest etch rates (up to 3 μm/pulse), followed by the designed polyesters and then polyimide. The laser-induced decomposition of the designed polymers was studied by nanosecond-interferometry. Only the triazene-polymer reveals etching without any sign of surface swelling, which is observed for all other polymers. The etching of the triazene-polymer starts and ends with the laser pulse, clearly indicating photochemical etching. The triazene-polymer was also studied by time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS). The intensities of the ablation fragments show pronounced differences between irradiation at the absorption band of the triazene group (308 nm) and irradiation at a shorter wavelength (248 nm).