The recent (re-)discovery of x-ray emission from unwinding scotch tape under vacuum makes me wonder how this phenomenon might be used. It would be interesting to see the emission spectrum. No doubt the physics boys at UCLA are pumpin’ out patents like pellets out of the back end of a rabbit.

The researchers report that duct tape does not provide the same effect as 3M Scotch tape. From the International Herald Tribune

The tape phenomenon could also lead to simple medical devices using bursts of electrons to destroy tumors. The scientists are looking to patent their ideas.

And finally, there’s the possibility of nuclear fusion. If the energy from the breaking adhesive could be directed away from the electrons to heavy hydrogen ions implanted in modified tape, the ions would accelerate fast enough so that when they collided, they could fuse together and give off energy — the same process that lights the sun.

Good God. We’re extrapolating this finding into solutions for the energy crisis and cancer already!

The UCLA folks say that the Russians reported x-ray emission from tape in 1953, but nobody believed them. Could be a novelty-buster.  Hmmm. I wonder if my Post-It notes will emit x-rays in vacuo too?

I’ll wager that at this very moment, a group of industrious Poindexters at two or three national weapons labs are trying to weaponize triboelectric x-rays. Project BIG STICKY.

Here is a “Novelty Buster” for the public domain– What would high Z additives in the tape composition do to the x-ray output? Seems to me that the heaviest atom naturally in Scotch tape would be silicon in the release backing layer. What if they grafted some heavy metal bearing monomers (metal chelates with a vinyl or other monomer moiety) into the composition somewhere? Would that affect the output spectrum?