We have developed and used a simple lithographic technique that allows preparation of TEM sections from a variety of materials in 10–45 minutes. To obtain TEM sections, 50–5,000 Å diameter cylindrical post structures are microfabricated on the surface of the sample using colloidal particles as an etch mask. The technique simultaneously prepares 104 – 108 posts. This not only allows a statistical characterization of sample structure but also provides enough material for studies of the electronic, spectroscopic and chemical properties of edge sites exposed on the post surfaces. These lithographically prepared posts have been used to study the structure of materials as diverse as a layered transition metal chalcogenide catalysts, semi-insulating polysilicon, amorphous semiconductor superlattices, crystalline metallic and semiconductor superlattices, and molecular-scale microporous superlattices.