Following the discovery of fullerenes (C60) and carbon nanotubes, it was shown that nanoparticles of inorganic layered compounds, like WS2 and MoS2, are unstable in the planar form and they form closed cage structures with polyhedral or nanotubular shapes. Although initially the method of synthesis for the formation of such closed caged structures and nanotubes involved starting from the respective oxides, it is now well established that the gas-phase synthetic route (using metal chlorides, carbonyls etc) provides an alternative which is suitable for the synthesis of very many closed caged structures and nanotubes hitherto unknown. Various issues with this method of synthesis, including its fundamentals, mechanism, and the properties of the inorganic fullerene-like structures produced are reviewed, together with some possible applications. <alternatives> [...] </alternatives>
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