The creation of surface-selective copper patterns was explored via the photochemical decomposition of dimethyl (1,3-diphenyl-l,3-propanedionato) gold. UV irradiation of a substrate treated with the gold complex results in the formation of elemental gold, which in turn catalyzes copper metal plating from an electroless bath. Thus, a selective copper pattern can be formed in a simplified process as defined by patterned UV irradiation. The variables which are important to the process are discussed including the UV dose, wavelength, and the surface concentration of gold complex. © 1990, The Electrochemical Society, Inc. All rights reserved.