Poly(maleimide-alt-p-trimethylsilyl-α-methylstyrene) (α-PMTMMS) and poly(male-imide-alt-p-trimethylsilylstyrene) (PMTMSS) were synthesized for positive/negative near-UV resists in the containing of diazonaphthoquinone sulfonate (DNS). The electron-rich styrenic monomers tend to undergo alternating copolymerization with an electron-poor maleimide monomer. The chain-stiffening effects of the maleimide and α-methylstyrene group were responsible for high thermal stabilities. A higher glass transition temperature of 226°C was found in α-PMTMMS. Lithographic positive/negative images were obtained that were stable to temperatures higher than 200°C. Excellent solubility in aqueous base was observed with PMTMSS at 10.3 wt % silicon content and an oxygen-plasma etching rate of 1:12 compared to hard-baked HPR–204. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.