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Science Thursday: X-Ray Yourself With Scotch Tape

Science Thursday: X-Ray Yourself With Scotch Tape

By Evan Ackerman

I have no idea who comes up with this stuff, but researchers at UCLA have apparently constructed a machine that takes X-rays images using a roll of Scotch tape being peeled up as a radiation source. Seriously, that’s all there is to it: put a roll of tape in a vacuum, slowly unpeel it, and if you stick your finger on the thing with some film behind it, you’ll give yourself an honest-to-goodness x-ray.

What seems to happen is that as the tape unsticks itself, electrons jump from the roll to the sticky side of the tape that is being pulled away. When they hit the tape, they slow down a bunch, and release their excess energy in the form of X-rays powerful enough to justify lead underpants. It only works in a vacuum, though, so unless you’re an astronaut, you probably don’t have to worry about developing superpowers after a day of arts ‘n crafts.

Short video of the process, after the jump.