A strong coupling between local charging and the specific volume of a polymer surface was exploited for topographic patterning. The charges were deposited locally using an atomic force microscope (AFM) tip sliding over the surface at moderate bias voltages of up to 5 V. The same tip was used to measure both topography (using the AFM imaging mode) and charge (using the Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy method). The height of the obtained structures can reach several nanometers. With an estimated depth of the charge of 1 to 10 nm, this corresponds to an increase of specific volume of 10 to 100. It is shown that the structures and the charges can be erased independently from each other. The charging is discussed in the context of molecular rearrangements necessary to store charge. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.