Saturday, October 25, 2008

X-Rays Generated Using Scotch Tape

The next miracle of modern medicine may be sitting in a bin right beside you. Scientists have been able to generate x-rays by peeling Scotch Tape. Do not worry, you have not been irradiating yourself with your home projects or repairs. The x-rays are only produced in a vacuum. Already this technique has been used to take an x-ray of a human thumb.

One day this process could make cheap x-rays available in areas will few resources and/or without access to electricity.

"In the new work, a machine peeled ordinary Scotch tape off a roll in a vacuum chamber at about 1.2 inches per second. Rapid pulses of X-rays, each about a billionth of a second long, emerged from very close to where the tape was coming off the roll.

That's where electrons jumped from the roll to the sticky underside of the tape that was being pulled away, a journey of about two-thousandths of an inch, Escobar said. When those electrons struck the sticky side they slowed down, and that slowing made them emit X-rays.

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