- Neutral atoms can be trapped and manipulated with surface mounted microscopic current carrying and charged structures. We present a lithographic fabrication process for such atom chips based on evaporated metal films. The size limit of this process is below 1 μm. At room temperature, thin wires can carry current densities of more than 107A∕cm2 and voltages of more than 500 V. Extensive test measurements for different substrates and metal thicknesses (up to 5 μm) are compared to models for the heating characteristics of the microscopic wires. Among the materials tested, we find that Si is the best suited substrate for atom chips.