Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

X-Rays From Tape

The phenomenon has been known since the 50s, that unrolling tape in a vacuum produces x-rays. However, researchers, lead by Carlos Camara, recently found that a lot more x-rays than previously thought are produced, enough to even do x-ray imaging. The basic principle behind this phenomenon is this: As you unpeel a tape, some electrons are left behind on the surface. This makes the piece of tape positively charged, while the surface becomes negatively charged. The positive tape will then attract the left-behind electrons due to the electrostatic forces of opposite charges. As the electrons get closer to the tape they accelerate, and when they hit the tape they will bounce off other electrons and nuclei. This again causes electrons to loose some of their energy in the form of emitted photons, and an estimated one in 10 000 electrons will produce a energetic “X-ray” photon. Camara and his team managed to produce a huge amount of x-ray radiation from this process, enough to even take an x-ray photo of Camaras finger. One application of this is to make cheap and easy x-ray machines, which would be really beneficial. A gallery of pictures of the process can be found here.

Photo: Carlos G. Camara, Juan V. Escobar, Jonathan R. Hird and Seth J. Putterman

 Red is the roll of tape, blue is the piece being removed. The bursts of red are the sticky strands coming off.


October 23, 2008 - Posted by | General Science | , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. nice article, thanks for sharing this, it’s worth

    Comment by hoover s3670 | November 6, 2008 | Reply

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