This Account focuses on our recent and systematic effort in the development of generic scanning probe lithography (SPL)-based methodologies to produce nanopatterns of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). The key to achieving high spatial precision is to keep the tip - surface interactions strong and local. The approaches used include two AFM-based methods, nanoshaving and nanografting, which rely on the local force, and two STM- based techniques, electron-induced diffusion and desorption, which use tunneling electrons for fabrication. In this Account we discuss the principle of these procedures and the critical steps in controlling local tip - surface interactions. The advantages of SPL will be illustrated through various examples of production and modification of SAM nanopatterns and their potential applications.
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