Scanning probe lithography: state-of-the-art and future perspectives

Pengfei Fan, Jian Gao, Hui Mao, Yanquan Geng, Yongda Yan, Yuzhang Wang, Saurav Goel, Xichun Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
99 Downloads (Pure)


High-throughput and high-accuracy nanofabrication methods are required for the ever-increasing demand for nanoelectronics, high-density data storage devices, nanophotonics, quantum computing, molecular circuitry, and scaffolds in bioengineering used for cell proliferation applications. The scanning probe lithography (SPL) nanofabrication technique is a critical nanofabrication method with great potential to evolve into a disruptive atomic-scale fabrication technology to meet these demands. Through this timely review, we aspire to provide an overview of the SPL fabrication mechanism and the state-the-art research in this area, and detail the applications and characteristics of this technique, including the effects of thermal aspects and chemical aspects, and the influence of electric and magnetic fields in governing the mechanics of the functionalized tip interacting with the substrate during SPL. Alongside this, the review also sheds light on comparing various fabrication capabilities, throughput, and attainable resolution. Finally, the paper alludes to the fact that a majority of the reported literature suggests that SPL has yet to achieve its full commercial potential and is currently largely a laboratory-based nanofabrication technique used for prototyping of nanostructures and nanodevices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number228
Number of pages32
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2022


  • nanofabrication
  • scanning probe lithography (SPL)
  • scanning probe microscope (SPM)
  • tip-based
  • nanostructures


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