Another use for microprobes is the production of micro and nano sized devices, as in MEMS and NEMS. The advantage that microprobes have over other lithography processes is that a microprobe beam can be scanned or directed over any area of the sample. This scanning of the microprobe beam can be imagined to be like using a very fine tipped pencil to draw your design on a paper or in a drawing program. Traditional lithography processes use photons which cannot be scanned and therefore masks are needed to selectively expose your sample to radiation. It is the radiation that causes changes of your sample, which in turn allows scientists and engineers to develop tiny devices such as microprocessors, accelerometers (like in most car safety systems), etc.
The term microprobe may also be applied to optical analytical techniques, when the instrument is set up to analyse micro samples or micro areas of larger specimens. Such techniques include micro Raman spectroscopy, micro infrared spectroscopy and micro LIBS. All of these techniques involve modified optical microscopes to locate the area to be analysed, direct the probe beam and collect the analytical signal.