Scientists working at PNNL, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have invented a new filtration system at will bring clean water to millions across the world at a fraction of what it cost now.

The new system is based on man-made nano tubes or hollow tubes that are thousands of times smaller then a human hair. The nano tubes trap contaminants from the water as it flows through allowing for clean water to come out the other side.

The scientists looked to nature for the idea, replicating the same structures cells use to keep DNA organized, according to news reports. They can even change the rigidity, thickness, and diameter of the tubes by controlling the acidity they are grown in.

Scientists have found other uses for the nano tubes besides water filtration. They can be coated with different substances that change the properties of how they act in different situations. Some examples would be to filter a specific dangerous chemical or even identify cancer in patients.