The development of nanometer-scale lithographies is the focus of an intense research activity because progress on nanotechnology depends on the capability to fabricate, position and interconnect nanometer-scale structures. The unique imaging and manipulation properties of atomic force microscopes have prompted the emergence of several scanning probe-based nanolithographies. In this tutorial review we present the most promising probe-based nanolithographies that are based on the spatial confinement of a chemical reaction within a nanometer-size region of the sample surface. The potential of local chemical nanolithography in nanometer-scale science and technology is illustrated by describing a range of applications such as the fabrication of conjugated molecular wires, optical microlenses, complex quantum devices or tailored chemical surfaces for controlling biorecognition processes.
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