Zigzag defect-free surface stabilized ferroelectric liquid crystal (SSFLC) cells were prepared using a photodegradable polyimide (PI) having a cyclobutane ring in the backbone. The PI layers were irradiated by polarized ultraviolet light (PUVL) at normal incidence to the surface, and characterized by UV and FTIR spectroscopy. The anisotropy originates from preferential cleavage of PI chains oriented parallel to the polarization direction of the irradiating PUVL. After the polarized UV light irradiation, the PI surface was much flatter than that after rubbing, but it induced a similar order parameter of dye-doped nematic LC molecules to that for a rubbed cell. Alignment of both the FLC molecules and the layer structure is important in SSFLC. After 40 min irradiation, the FLC molecules were well aligned homogeneously, and the FLC cells showed a uniform texture without zigzag defects which also indicates a well aligned layer structure. Zigzag defect-free alignment may result from the flatter surface, the much smaller and more constant pretilt angles, and the bigger cone angle than those achieved by rubbing.