This feature article is aimed to showcase advanced soft and radiationless nanotools for the morphological characterization and for the preparation/modification of molecular surfaces, namely solid supported ultrathin films not exceeding 1–2 molecular layers. As to the characterization, the development of dynamic scanning force microscopy in attractive regime is presented as an important progress at least as far as it concerns imaging of nanoscale features of molecular surfaces with minimal probe–sample physical interaction. To date, this tool has been applied only by a few groups in spite of its larger resolution and image quality than the conventional scanning probe methods. As to the preparation/modification, the realization of ultrathin nanoscale patterns is reviewed by highlighting at first some recent approaches in the field of molecular self-assembly on solid substrates including the possibility to induce order under both equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions. Secondly, the area of nanoscale man-made fabrication is featured by choosing some of those techniques of urgent need (high resolution, low cost, potentially of simple use) like scanning probe lithographies and nanodispensing tools.
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