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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
In pictures: Building nanostructures
Image used with permission of Nature
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Creating nano-scale test tubes starts with this molecule - triangular-shaped melamine
Image used with permission of Nature
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Melamine must be combined with this - a rectangular-shaped derivative of perylene.
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This is what the two chemicals look like, with melamine on the right
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They are put together and heated in this 250,000 machine
Image used with permission of Nature
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The chemicals bond like this
Image used with permission of Nature
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They create a honeycomb structure with the gaps in the middle acting as tiny test tubes about 20 atoms in diameter
Image used with permission of Nature
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This is what the honeycomb looks like through a high-powered microscope





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