Not only could we use algae as a new fuel source soon, but we also might use it to create better nanotechnology. Diatoms, tiny phytoplanktons, come encased in a unique cell wall made out of silica, which has pores and channels that increase its surface area dramatically. Using the existing complexity of these natural structures in nature could be a cheap way to make "lab-on-a-chip" systems for micro-analysis... without any industrial chemical processes. Diatom image by Peter Webber, from Nikon Small World. [Nanowerk]