In this article, recent results employing scanning tunneling microscopy-based techniques for the generation of nanometer-scale patterns on hydrofluoric acid treated silicon(100) and YBa2Cu3O x superconducting thin films are presented. Furthermore, we were able to extract silicon (Si) atoms from Si(100)-1×1 surfaces, thereby producing silicon vacancies in the surface. These results thus demonstrate a possible approach for the construction of an atomic scale data memory as well as fabrication of artificial nucleation sites. The emission mechanism is believed to be field assisted evaporation due to the close proximity of the surface and the probe of the microscope. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.