We have used the force exerted on a neutral atom by an optical standing wave to focus a neutral atomic beam into a grating structure that is deposited on a substrate. We have made gratings with pitch of 294 nm, linewidths of δ=40–45 nm and contrast ≳10:1, over an area of 7.6 mm2. We discuss the conditions needed to make the narrowest structures, and how these conditions affect the performance of this technique as a lithography tool. We also show depositions that have lower resolution, δ≊80 nm, but could cover an area greater than 3×104 mm2. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.