Structural nano-laminate templates to collect and organize atoms, molecules, nano-crystals, colloids, cells, proteins, and spores. The nanostructured materials enables controlled deposition of molecules and nanoparticles, and in many applications, enable attachment of organic or "soft" matter to an inorganic or "hard" substrate. This enables the deposition of proteins onto specific site or into ordered arrays which can facilitate their detection as well as their crystallization. The nano-laminates may be constructed using magnetron sputtering to deposit alternating layers of selected materials, such as amorphous alumina and amorphous silica, on a silicon substrate. The substrate is then sectioned and polished, exposing the cross-sections of the deposited layers, and to which selected proteins, for example, are attached in an ordered manner.
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.