Unlike conventional optical or e-beam lithography, ZyVector takes into account the atomic structure of the surface. Writing is done as vectors, moving along the surface lattice vectors, with a standard pixel size of 2 dimers on a single dimer row. Using different settings of voltage and current, multiple beam widths are available, from one pixel wide up to several nm, to optimize write time for larger patterns. There is no partial exposure; either a H atom is removed, or it is not. Proximity effects also do not exist here.
One final advantage over conventional e-beam lithography is the ability to image nondestructively with the same tip as used for writing. Thus the surface can be imaged prior to writing, allowing alignment to fiducial marks or areas of previous patterning. After writing, the quality of the lithography can be checked, enabling some error correction.
Finally, the written pattern can be imaged with atomic precision, so that developed nanostructures can be referred back to the original pattern.