Tip-induced lithography based on local probe methods is a contender for next-generation technologies that require spatially differentiated topographical andyor chemical manipulation of polymer surfaces on the nano-scale. The present project is based on force microscopy and has demonstrated topographical manipulation of P(tBuMA) at a line width of 20–30 nm. Lateral force analysis shows that the surface chemistry can also be manipulated with comparable spatial resolution. The present project has been concerned with establishing relationships between lithographic outcomes and tip shape, linear raster speed, out-of-plane normal force, and in-plane shearyfriction force. Elements of ‘ploughing’, in combination with elastic recovery and chain scission appear to be necessary aspects of an explanatory model.