I Smell Cancer!: Scotch Tape Emits X-Rays

October 24, 2008


So scotch tape can produce x-rays (that's a real picture taken with a 30-second exposure showing visible light emission from a roll).

In a tour de force of office supply physics, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown that it is possible to produce X-rays by simply unrolling Scotch tape.

In the current issue of the journal Nature, Dr. Putterman and his colleagues report that surprisingly fierce flows of electrons were unleashed as the tape was unpeeled and its gooey adhesive snapped free of the surface. The electrical currents, in turn, generated strong, short bursts of X-rays -- each burst, about a billionth of a second long, contained about 300,000 X-ray photons.

Great, so now I have finger cancer.

UPDATE: My stapler cured me!

From a Strip of Scotch Tape, X-Rays [nytimes]

Thanks to Raymond, mkaggie, and Sarahj, who have all been exposed to Post-Its.

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