Gold (Au) nanocrystal-embedded PDMS films were synthesized by simply depositing a precursor solution on the PDMS film. The resulting PDMS films, inside which many Au nanocrystals with dimensions smaller than 50 nm were uniformly embedded, showed unique nanostructured surface patterns. The morphological evolution of the films proceeded along different pathways depending on whether the film was chemically treated with 02 plasma. The hybrid films were systematically characterized by carrying out scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy analyses. Mechanisms explaining the formation of the Au nanocrystal-embedded PDMS films and the morphological evolutions during the synthesis were proposed based on the results. The developed approach provides a simple route for fabricating metal nanocrystal-embedded polymer films with unique structures and without the need for special equipment. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.