The polymerization of [Ge4S10]4- and [Ge4Se10]4- unit clusters with the divalent metal ions Zn2+, Cd2+, Hg2+, Ni2+, and Co2+ in the presence of various surfactant cations leads to novel mesostructured phases. The surfactants are the quaternary ammonium salts C12H25NMe3Br, C14H29NMe3Br, C16H33NMe3Br, and C18H37NMe3Br, which play the role of templates, helping to assemble a three-dimensional mesostructured metal-germanium chalcogenide framework. These materials are stoichiometric in nature and have the formula of (R-NMe3)2[MGe4Q10] (Q = S, Se). The local atomic structure was probed by X-ray diffuse scattering and pair distribution function analysis methods and indicates that the adamantane clusters stay intact while the linking metal atoms possess a tetrahedral coordination environment. A model can be derived, from the comparison of measured and simulated X-ray powder diffraction patterns, describing the structure as an amorphous three-dimensional framework consisting of adamantane [Ge4Q10]4- units that are bridged by tetrahedral coordinated M2+ cations. The network structures used in the simulations were derived from corresponding disordered structures developed for amorphous silicon. The frameworks in (R-NMe3)2[MGe4Q10] are perforated with worm hole-like tunnels, occupied by the surfactant cations, which show no long-range order. This motif is supported by transmission electron microscopy images of these materials. The pore sizes of these channels were estimated to lie in the range of 20-30 Å, depending on the appointed surfactant cation length. The framework wall thickness of ca. 10 Å is thereby independent from the surfactant molecules used. Up to 80% of the surfactant molecules can he removed by thermal degradation under vacuum without loss of mesostructural integrity. Physical, chemical, and spectroscopic properties of these materials are discussed. (C) 2000 Academic Press.