Optical losses associated with the metallic contacts necessary for charge injection are an obstacle to the development of an electrically pumped polymer laser. We show that it may be possible to overcome these losses by demonstrating the operation of a distributed-feedback polymer laser fabricated upon a silver substrate. The device lasing threshold was similar to150 times greater than that of an otherwise similar metal-free device, though similar to early polymer lasers. The device emission characteristics correlated well with the measured photonic band structure, allowing an explanation of the effect of the microstructure on device operation. (C) 2002 American Institute of Physics.