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.
Such networks may someday serve as sensors, chemical reactors for processing a sing