what the hell are they putting in their tape?
In the current issue of the journal Nature, Dr. Putterman and his colleagues report that surprisingly fierce flows of electrons were unleashed as the tape was unpeeled and its gooey adhesive snapped free of the surface. The electrical currents, in turn, generated strong, short bursts of X-rays — each burst, about a billionth of a second long, contained about 300,000 X-ray photons.
“Some kind of microscopic lightning effect,” Dr. Putterman said.
The scientists even demonstrated that the X-rays were bright enough to take an X-ray of a finger.
That does not mean that tape dispensers on office desks are mini X-ray machines. The phenomenon has been observed only when tape is unpeeled in a vacuum. Something about air, moisture perhaps, short-circuits the X-rays.
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.
Finally, there is the possibility of nuclear fusion. If energy from the breaking adhesive could be directed away from the electrons to heavy hydrogen ions implanted in modified tape, the ions would accelerate so that when they collided, they could fuse and give off energy — the process that lights the sun.