Provided are nanowire-coated fibers and compositions comprising one or more nanowire-coated fibers and methods of making the fibers and compositions. The fibers can be organic or inorganic fibers. The nanowires can be metallic or semiconducting nanowires. The nanowires are disposed on at least a portion of a surface of a fiber or fibers. The fibers and compositions can be used as barcodes (e.g., for anti-counterfeiting methods). The fibers and compositions also can be used as photodetectors (e.g., methods of detecting electromagnetic radiation).
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