A new technique, based on steady-state fluorescence measurements, is introduced for studying dissolution of polymer films. These films are formed from naphthalene and pyrene labeled poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) latex particles, sterically stabilized by polyisobutylene. Diffusion of solvent (chloroform) into the annealed latex film was followed by desorption of polymer chains. Annealing was performed above T-g at various temperatures for 30-min time intervals. Desorption of pyrene labeled PMMA chains was monitored in real time by the pyrene fluorescence intensity change. Desorption coefficients were found to be between 1 and 4 x 10(-10) cm(2)/s and two different dissolution mechanisms were detected. (C) 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.