A method of preparing a metal nanorod. The method includes seeding a metal nanoparticle within the lumen of a nanotube, and growing a metal nanorod from the seeded metal nanoparticle to form a metal nanorod-nanotube composite. In some cases, the nanotube includes metal binding ligands attached to the inner surface. Growing of the metal nanorod includes incubating the seeded nanotube in a solution that includes: a metal source for the metal in the metal nanorod, the metal source including an ion of the metal; a coordinating ligand that forms a stable complex with the metal ion; a reducing agent for reducing the metal ion, and a capping agent that stabilizes atomic monomers of the metal. Compositions derived from the method are also provided.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPEMENT
 This invention was made with Government support under Grant No. DMR0956081 awarded by the National Science Foundation, and Grant No. DE-SC0002247 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.