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Exposure of polystyrene to MeV-order heavy-ion beams produces nanowires by cross-linking along ion tracks. The chemical core of these ion tracks is visualized, and the dependence of the diameter of the nanowires on the linear energy transfer of the ion beam and molecular weight of the polymer are investigated precisely based on the model of transformation of a nanowire cross section into an ellipse. an equation is derived to predict the radius (5.6–27.6 nm) of the chemical core considering the energy density required for gelation of the polymer, and the validity of the relation is confirmed against experimental results.