In 1981 A. N. Broers suggested that the spatial limit of direct writing electron beam lithography (DWEBL) would be limited to ~10 nm by the laterally scattered fast secondary electrons (FSE) even in atomically thin resist. One possible solution to this restriction would be to use low- or ultralow-energy electrons. Experiments and simulations have been carried out to quantify the contribution of FSE to the energy deposition that results in exposure of the resist over high-beam energies. To examine the effects of FSE on low-voltage operations, studies of electron-beam lithography (EBL) in the low- to ultralow-energy range, employing commonly used resists such as PMMA, were performed, and the results were compared to those from conventional high-voltage processing. DWEBL was performed in a Schottky field emission gun scanning electron microscope (SEM), used in cathode-lens mode for ultralow-voltage operation. The exposure characteristics and sensitivity of the system at these energies have been investigated using Monte Carlo simulation methods. Saturation doses were calculated at low energies, which would give a useful condition to target for routine exposure because it ensures the critical dimensions will not be affected by any random changes in beam intensity.