Synthetic cells and ultrathin electronics may be possible with a new zero-dimensional carbon nanotube (CNT) based on research at University of Pittsburgh. When created, single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have a length-to-diameter ratio of up to 132,000,000:1. This clustering makes it difficult to achieve high purity, water solubility, and wet nanoscale applications. But this changes if the nanotube length could be reduced to roughly the size of its diameter, thus creating a zero-dimensional carbon nanotube. These extremely short nanotubes would be more soluble and would have the same dimensions as many proteins that compose the basic machinery of living cells. That suggests the potential for cell- or protein-level biomedical imaging, protein or nucleic acid vaccination carriers, drug-delivery vehicles, or even components of synthetic cells. In addition, zero-dimensional carbon nanotubes present the possibility to build ultrathin, superfast electronic devices, more advanced in comparison to existing ones and it could be possible to build strong and ultralight cars, bridges, and airplanes. The researchers expect the process will be available commercially as soon as it can be scaled up to manufacture bulk quantities, which is underway currently.