Experimental and theoretical results on polyimide-to-metal and -ceramic adhesion are briefly reviewed. In general, the polyimide-on-metal interfaces have stronger interactions vis-a-vis the metal-on-polyimide interfaces. A section is also devoted to adhesion promoters and their effect on the adhesion. Data from the literature imply that one of the reasons for the improvement in adhesion in the case of the polyimide-on-silicon oxide interface using a y-aminopropyltriethoxysilane adhesion promoter is physical in nature. With the adhesion promoter the interfacial region within the polyimide is likely to be less oriented and more entangled than the same system without the adhesion promoter. This subtle effect is illustrative of the understanding that can result from careful locus-of-failure analysis in an adhesion study. © VSP 1990.