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A method for patterned deposition of an arbitrary thin film on an arbitrary substrate. A GaAs substrate having a bi-layer structure deposited thereon, the bi-layer structure consisting of a bottom layer of Ge and a top layer of SiN. A photoresist deposited on the top SiN surface of the sample is patterned to form one or more desired patterned features on the sample. The Ge—SiN bi-layer structure on the patterned sample is aniostropically etched so that an undercut is formed in the Ge layer, the SiN forming an overhang over a portion of the GaAs substrate. The remaining photoresist is removed from the sample and the film is deposited on the sample to form a feature on the substrate. The remaining Ge layer is etched away and the SiN layer and film deposited on the SiN layer are lifted from the sample, leaving only the patterned features on the substrate.