Silica nano test tubes are one-dimensional inorganic nanostructures with several biotechnological applications including biosensing, magnetic resonance imaging, and targeted cancer therapeutics. They are generally prepared by sol-gel deposition of silica to nanoporous alumina templates. Preparing samples composed of isolated free silica nano test tubes can be a challenging process due to the conformal coating of silica on the template. This causes the formation of a top-surface silica layer which laterally connects the nano test tubes. Herein, we detailed the use of Reactive Ion Etching to remove this top-surface silica layer which yields free silica nano test tubes with template dissolution. Compared with the mechanical polishing approach, Reactive Ion Etching treatment allows a. ne manipulation ability of the surface material at the nanoscale level. When used excessively, Reactive Ion Etching causes an orifice closing phenomenon that may be employed to create novel one-dimensional nanocapsules. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.