An introductory overview will be given of the effects of ion implantation on polymers, and certain areas will be examined in more detail. Radiation effects in general and ion implantation in particular, in the field of polymers, present a number of contrasts with those in ionic crystals, the most obvious difference being that the chemical effects of both the implanted species and the energy transfer to the host may profoundly change the nature of the target material. Common effects include crosslinking and scission of polymer chains, gas evolution, double bond formation and the formation of additional free radicals. Research has spanned the chemical processes involved, including polymerization reactions achievable only with the use of radiation, to applied research dealing both with the effects of radiation on polymers already in commercial use and the tailoring of new materials to specific applications. Polymers are commonly divided into two groups, in describing their behavior under irradiation. Group I includes materials which form crosslinks between molecules, whereas Group II materials tend to degrade. In basic research, interest has centered on Group I materials and of these polyethylene has been studied most intensively. Applied materials research has investigated a variety of polymers, particularly those used in cable insulation, and those utilized in ion beam lithography of etch masks. Currently there is also great interest in enhancing the conducting properties of polymers, and these uses would tend to involve the doping capabilities of ion implantation, rather than the energy deposition.