Photopatterning of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) films is performed by UV irradiation of the polymer films containing uniformly distributed AuCl 4- ions. The process reduces the gold ions and leads to production of Au nanoparticles in the irradiated regions at room temperature (RT). Resulting films are investigated with scanning electron microscopy, which revealed, in addition to regions with gold nanoparticles, the presence of "ion-depleted regions". These regions are formed at RT and within the rigid polymer matrix by diffusion of gold ions toward the irradiated regions, ending up with no or very little gold moieties, which are important for prevention of delayed processes for postgeneration of unwanted features, if and when such materials are utilized for device production. Further investigations performed by fluorescence and Raman measurements and XPS mapping give additional evidence supporting the existence of such regions. Similar regions are also observed within the poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVAL) films. The ion-depleted regions are about 10 μm wide, which is a significant length for the metal ions to travel through a rigid matrix like PMMA (or PVAL) at room temperature and raises important questions as to the diffusion mechanism(s) of the metal ions and to the nature of the driving force(s). © 2010 American Chemical Society.