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Light-coupling masks (LCMs) based on structured organic polymers that make conformal contact with a substrate can constitute an amplitude mask for light-based lithographies. The LCM is exposed through its backside, from where the light is differentially guided by the structures towards the substrate. Images of arbitrarily shaped features having dimensions much smaller than that of the vacuum wavelength of the exposing light are formed in the resist in a 1:1 correspondence to their size in light-guiding portions of the mask. LCMs allow pattern replication at high resolution and densities over large areas in photoresist without the need for elaborate projection optics. (C) 1998 American Institute of Physics. [S0003-6951(98)04319-8].