A method for providing a route for the synthesis of a Ge(0) nanometer-sized material from. A Ge(II) precursor is dissolved in a ligand heated to a temperature, generally between approximately 100.degree. C. and 400.degree. C., sufficient to thermally reduce the Ge(II) to Ge(0), where the ligand is a compound that can bond to the surface of the germanium nanomaterials to subsequently prevent agglomeration of the nanomaterials. The ligand encapsulates the surface of the Ge(0) material to prevent agglomeration. The resulting solution is cooled for handling, with the cooling characteristics useful in controlling the size and size distribution of the Ge(0) materials. The characteristics of the Ge(II) precursor determine whether the Ge(0) materials that result will be nanocrystals or nanowires.