Unpeeling Sticky Tape in a Vacuum Produces X-Rays

Thanks to Jack Cole on Vortex-l for finding this 2008 article on the Nature website.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angles discovered that when you simply unpeel regular sticky tape in a vacuum, x-rays are emitted — enough to take an image of a finger.

Here’s a video that shows the process at work. At the 4:10 mark you can see how a Geiger counter is able to easily detect the production of radiation.

The article in Nature explains that the phenomenon being investigated was not new:

This kind of energy release — known as triboluminescence and seen in the form of light — occurs whenever a solid (often a crystal) is crushed, rubbed or scratched. It is a long-known, if somewhat mysterious, phenomenon, seen by Francis Bacon in 1605. He noticed that scratching a lump of sugar caused it to give off light.

The leading explanation posits that when a crystal is crushed or split, the process separates opposite charges. When these charges are neutralized, they release a burst of energy in the form of light.

As long ago as 1953, a team of scientists based in Russia suggested that peeling sticky tape produced X-rays. But “we were very sceptical about the old results,” says Escobar.

This article is seven years old now, and this is the first time I have seen it mentioned in the LENR community. A search to see if there has been much follow-up research on this topic uncovered only this thesis titled “Surface Distribution and X-Ray Emission From Scotch Tape” by Kelly McGuire at Brigham Young University Idaho. In this study, the author reported:

I observed that changes in the velocity of the tape unraveling from the spools caused change in the x-ray count. Tests were done to determine if there was a significant difference between x-ray count and different velocities. . . The current hypothesis is that as the tape unravels at higher velocities around the spools, the glue flows more quickly and does not allow for charge to build up on the tape’s surface. In other words, glue flow seems to be dependent on velocity.

It’s interesting to find an interesting and unexpected discovery comes about with an ordinary household item. It reminds me how sticky tape was connected with the discovery of graphene when researchers were able to peel thin layers of carbon from a graphite block with the tape. Maybe there’s a further part sticky tape can play in LENR research, too.