Miniaturisation in nanotechnology requires the fabrication and characterisation of smaller and smaller devices. Processes based on ion beams are one important technology. They are used to produce nano-patterned surface, to sputter surface for mass spectrometry, and to prepare samples for electron microscopy. For all of these applications, higher impact energies in the keV range produce substantial damage in the sub-surface area down to a depth of a few tens of nanometres, modifying composition and properties of the original material. Currently such high impact energies are required to focus the ion beams down to the desired spot sizes. Hence, the long term objective is the development of ion beams with low impact energy for minimal damage in the subsurface area and small spot sizes for the sputtering or imaging of fine features. In the ULOWBEAM project we are going to investigate the conditions under which ultra-low impact energy beams, with energies below 500 eV down to the sputter threshold, can be used for applications in nanosciences. To understand how residual gas molecules hinder the efficient sputtering of surfaces for such low energies and how such ion beams can be used for ion beam induced deposition, we are going to use a multi-disciplinary approach combing numerical with experimental methods in order to get insights into the atomic-scale processes.