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Nanografting is a high-precision approach for scanning probe lithography, which provides unique advantages and capabilities for rapidly writing arrays of nanopatterns of thiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). Nanografting is accomplished by force-induced displacement of molecules of a matrix SAM, followed immediately by the self-assembly of n-alkanethiol ink molecules from solution. The feedback loop used to control the atomic force microscope tip position and displacement enables exquisite control of forces applied to the surface, ranging from pico to nanonewtons. To achieve high-resolution writing at the nanoscale, the writing speed, direction, and applied force need to be optimized. There are strategies for programing the tip translation, which will improve the uniformity, alignment, and geometries of nanopatterns written using open-loop feedback control. This article addresses the mechanics of automated nanografting and demonstrates results for various writing strategies when nanografting patterns of n-alkanethiol SAMs. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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