University of Florida scientists say they’ve found a way to seal infinitesimally small nano test tubes: They use nano corks.

One nanometer equals 400 millionths of an inch.

The nano-sized tubes are designed to be filled with drugs and then injected into the body, where they will seek diseased or cancerous cells, uncork themselves and spill their therapeutic contents in the right place.

After making the nano test tubes, we saw the potential for them to be used for drug delivery vehicles, but because they are open at one end it would be like trying to ship wine in a bottle without a cork, said UF Chemistry Professor Charles Martin. You have to cork it, which is what we have accomplished.

Martin is one of six University of Florida chemistry faculty members and graduate students who co-authored a paper explaining the project. That paper appeared last month in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.