- Solar ablation creates the sharp radiative and temperature gradients, as well as the high-temperature annealing environment, that favor nanomaterial syntheses. Using highly concentrated sunlight, we generated fullerene-like MoS2, ranging from single-walled nanotubes and closed-cage structures to their larger multi-walled counterparts. TEM, HRTEM and EDS unambiguously established the nanostructures, some achieving fundamentally minimum sizes predicted by molecular structural theory. Irradiation of MoS2 and powdered mixtures of MoS2 + SiO2 in evacuated quartz ampoules also generated nanofibers and nanospheres of amorphous SiO2: the first production of SiO2nanostructures purely from quartz. Also, solar ablation of MoS2 + SiO mixtures produced nanowires and nanospheres of crystalline Si.