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[en] Using systematic atomistic modeling, the objective of this study is to explore the nanoscale tip-confinement effect in near-field surface nanostructuring. It is to provide important knowledge base for the understanding and design of tip-based manufacturing at the nanoscale. Our result reveals that the number of ablated-out atoms decreases significantly due to the tip-confinement. Tip apex oscillation occurs because of tip interaction with the substrate. The dynamic nanostructuring process and final surface structure are strongly affected by tip–substrate distance and laser fluence. When the tip–substrate distance is smaller, it takes a longer time for the substrate to cool down and solidify. - Highlights: • Systematic atomistic modeling is employed to explore the tip-confinement effect on surface nanostructuring. • Material ablation is trapped by the tip confinement and the ablated mass is reduced. • Tip apex oscillation occurs because of tip's interaction with the substrate. • Laser fluence and tip–substrate distance affect the final surface structure and morphology. • Tip apex distortion is observed during laser ablation, and is affected by tip–substrate distance and laser fluence.