New Source of X-Ray Could Lead to New Products

Here is one of those scientific insights that can lead to new medical or even commercial inventions. Carlos Camara, a physicist at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA, reports ripping a common “scotch” tape from the roll in a 10e-3 Torr vacuum can produce 15 kev X-rays. In a personal communication Carlos related that the source of the radiation is localized to a 100 micron area at the peel line. He reported the phenomenon in letter to Nature. According to the abstract he was able to create a fuzzy X-ray image of his finger after peeling the tape within a vacuum chamber. The finger was 1 cm away from the tape separated by a window. He reported 100-mW X-ray pulses with an observed 15-keV peak in X-ray energy. I am aware of commercial products that use 25 keV X-rays to produce images. This certainly has the earmarks of a potential source of X-rays which with the increasing sensitivity of electronic X-ray detecting in recent years could be the basis for a line of products both in developed and undeveloped countries. One of the challenges, of course, would be to sharpen the image. Unlike a typical x-ray this phenomenon, as described, creates multiple uncollimated sources of low intensity X-rays the likely cause of the fuzziness.

Here is a composite X-ray image of the finger he was able to create using multiple exposures.


Its not that bad of an X-ray considering the conditions.

Correlation between nanosecond X-ray flashes and stick–slip friction in peeling tape
Gallery: Take an X-Ray With Your Office Sticky Tape

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