Initially, “Lithography” is a printing technique in which the image is transferred from a flat form to a flat surface (paper).

With the development of semiconductor electronics, "Lithography" began to call the technique of forming a pattern of chips on the surface of semiconductors. With a decrease in the size of elements of microcircuits less than 0.1 microns, the methods of forming the corresponding “nanostructures” have become more sophisticated.

Ultraviolet, X-ray, electron beam and ion-beam lithography have been developed.

With the advent of scanning probe microscopy, it became possible to influence the surface of the substrates with a resolution of up to and atomic sizes. With the help of STM, individual atoms were manipulated.

The possibilities of pattern formation were also demonstrated by direct mechanical actions of the tip of the probe on the substrate surface, effects of current pulses, and field evaporation of the probe material. Using anodic-oxidative lithography, nanoelectronic elements were fabricated.