We report on a change in the properties of monomolecular films of polyelectrolyte molecules, induced by illuminating the silicon substrate on which they adsorb. It was found that under illumination the thickness of the adsorbed layer decreases by at least 27% and at the same time the roughness is significantly reduced in comparison to a layer adsorbed without irradiation. Furthermore, the homogeneity of the film topography and the surface potential is shown to be improved by illumination. The effect is explained by a change in surface charge density under irradiation of n- and p-type silicon wafers. The altered charge density in turn induces conformational changes of the adsorbing polyelectrolyte molecules. Their photocontrolled adsorption opens new possibilities for selective manipulation of adsorbed films. This possibility is of potential importance for many applications such as the production of well-defined coatings in biosensors or microelectronics.