Cut-ups create soft spots for chemistry

12:26pm, January 12, 2001

It's the kind of chemistry laboratory you might expect in a Gary Larson cartoon. Instead of glassware connected by convoluted tubing, this submerged lab sports squishy vesicles as small as cells, and they're linked via elastic tubules only a few molecules in diameter. All that's missing is a goofy amoeba-scientist in a white coat.

In fact, this type of microscopic laboratory is well beyond the comics-page stage. In the Jan. 11 Nature, Swedish researchers report creating prototypes with sets of up to 11 minuscule soft vesicles.

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