Scotch tape is not only see-through, it can also see through, for the product can be used to take X-rays, bemused scientists say.
Peeling tape from a roll of Scotch releases tiny bursts of X-rays that are powerful enough to take images of bones in fingers and hands, researchers have found.
The unusual discovery was made by a University of California at Los Angeles team, intrigued after hearing that Soviet scientists in the 1950s found that sticky tape, when separated at the right speed, released pulses in the X-ray part of the energy spectrum.
Reporting in Thursday's issue of the British-based science journal Nature, the investigators used a motorised peeling machine to unwind a standard roll (25.4 metres in length by 19 mm) of Photo Safe 3M Scotch tape at a speed of three centimetres (1.18 inches) a second.
By placing the machine in a vacuum, they were able to measure X-rays that were enough to take images.
"We didn't believe it. We really didn't think it could be true," co-author Carlos Camara told AFP in a phone interview, referring to the team's initial scepticism.
"We took some pictures of our hands to see the bones and prove that it was possible. We have a whole collection (of pictures)... it is absolutely remarkable."