New synthetic innovations are rapidly being developed to address the demand for complex, next-generation nanomaterials with rigorously controlled architectures and interfaces. This Review highlights key strategies for the chemical transformation and stepwise synthesis of multicomponent inorganic nanostructures, with the existing nanoscale transformations categorized into classes of reactions that are related to those used in the synthesis of organic molecules. The application of concepts used in molecular synthesis—including site-selectivity, regio- and chemoselectivity, orthogonal reactivity, coupling reactions, protection/deprotection strategies, and procedures for separation and purification—to nanoscale systems is emphasized. Collectively, the resulting synthetic concept represents an emerging model for the synthesis of complex inorganic nanostructures on the basis of the guiding principles that underpin the multistep total synthesis of complex organic molecules and natural products.
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