True nanotechnology, defined as the ability to reliably and repeatably fabricate nanostructures with controlled differences in size, shape, and orientation at precise substrate locations, currently does not exist. There are many examples demonstrating the capability to grow, deposit, and manipulate nanometer-sized features, but typically these techniques do not allow for controllable manufacturing of individual structures. To bridge this gap and to unlock the true potential of nanotechnology for defense sensing applications, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Tip-Based Nanofabrication (TBN) research program with the intent of achieving controlled manufacturing of nanostructures using functionalized AFM cantilevers and tips. This work describes the background, goals, and recent advances achieved during the multi-year TBN program.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.