The growing number of nanoparticle applications in science and industry is leading to increasingly complex nanostructures that fulfill certain tasks in a specific environment. Nickel nanorods already possess promising properties due to their magnetic behavior and their elongated shape. The relevance of this kind of nanorod in a complex measurement setting can be further improved by suitable surface modification and functionalization procedures, so that customized nanostructures for a specific application become available. In this review, we focus on nickel nanorods that are synthesized by electrodeposition into porous templates, as this is the most common type of nickel nanorod fabrication method. Moreover, it is a facile synthesis approach that can be easily established in a laboratory environment. Firstly, we will discuss possible applications of nickel nanorods ranging from data storage to catalysis, biosensing and cancer treatment. Secondly, we will focus on nickel nanorod surface modification strategies, which represent a crucial step for the successful application of nanorods in all medical and biological settings. Here, the immobilization of antibodies or peptides onto the nanorod surface adds another functionality in order to yield highly promising nanostructures.
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