The world’s smallest test tube has been created by UK scientists. And the tiny structures could be used to produce materials with unique properties.

A team with members from the University of Oxford and the University of Nottingham created minuscule test tubes which are in fact carbon nanotubes. They then filled each tube with fullerene oxide molecules which were coerced into polymerising in an ordered way as a result of the tube’s shape.

“The important thing is that we have a controlled reaction,” says David Britz, of the University of Oxford who led the research. He adds that the tubes do not interfere chemically with the polymerisation process. “As far as we can tell it’s just an inert container,” Britz says.

The researchers believe this process could be used the create materials with novel molecular characteristics or even components for quantum computers.

More here.