Materials with nanoscopic dimensions not only have potential technological applications in areas such as device technology and drug delivery but also are of fundamental interest in that the properties of a material can change in this regime of transition between the bulk and molecular scales. In this article, a relatively new method for preparing nanomaterials, membrane-based synthesis, is reviewed. This method entails synthesis of the desired material within the pores of a nanoporous membrane. Because the membranes used contain cylindrical pores of uniform diameter, monodisperse nanocylinders of the desired material, whose dimensions can be carefully controlled, are obtained. This "template" method has been used to prepare polymers, metals, semiconductors, and other materials on a nanoscopic scale.