Using solution micelles formed by a block copolymer template, a variety of highly ordered catalytically active transition metal nanoparticles, ranging from single metallic nanoparticles of Fe, Co, Ni and Au to bimetallic nanoparticles such as Ni/Fe with uniform size and periodicity, have been created. These nanoparticles are excellent catalyst systems for the synthesis of carbon nanotubes and silicon nanowires. High quality, small diameter carbon nanotubes and silicon nanowires with narrow size distribution have been successfully produced. Since this block copolymer is fully compatible with conventional top-down photolithography, spatially selective growth of carbon nanotubes and silicon nanowires on a surface or carbon nanotubes suspended across trenches have been achieved using standard semiconductor processing techniques. The ability of the block copolymer template to generate catalyst with adjustable size and composition on a variety of surfaces not only enhance the manufacturability of these 1D nanobuilding blocks but also facilitates studying the growth mechanism.