Historically, each of the three macromolecular architectural classes, i.e. (I) linear, (II) crosslinked, and (III) branched, has spawned rich polymer science. These architectural discoveries have been characterized by the emergence of new syntheses, structures, phenomena, properties, and products that have dramatically improved the human condition1. In the past five years, nanotechnology initiatives2 have focused on new synthesis strategies, structures, phenomena, and properties associated with length scales of 1–100 nm. These dimensions encompass biological building blocks (protein, DNA, RNA, etc.) and abiotic application areas (nanophotonics and nanoelectronics) (Fig. 1)2–4. This review will focus on an emerging, fourth class of architecture, ‘the dendritic state’, and its convergence with nanotechnology5,6.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(05)00746-7