University of Florida researchers have found a way to make nanosized test tubes from carbon and silica nanotubes less than 1 nanometer in diameter. The tubes could be combined with miniscule caps to hold tiny amounts of drugs, DNA or proteins for release in targeted locations through the body.
The researchers currently grow nanotubes in an alumina template. The diameter of the tubes changes with the diameter of pores in the template and length is determined by the thickness of the template. By changing the template, so the pores are closed on one end, so too the nanotubes were closed on one end. Altering the materials used to make the tubes alters the biochemical properties of the tubes. The work appears in the the March 10, 2004 issue of Nano Letters.