Programming three dimensional nanostructures into materials is becoming increasingly important given the need for ever more highly functional solids. Applications for materials with complex programmed structures include solar energy harvesting, energy storage, molecular separation, sensors, pharmaceutical agent delivery, nanoreactors and advanced optical devices. Here we discuss examples of molecular and optical routes to program the structure of three-dimensional nanomaterials with exquisite control over nanomorphology and the resultant properties and conclude with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges of such an approach.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(09)70178-6