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Special Wire X-Rays Record Tiny Objects

November 05, 2001

Researchers at Cornell University have used the brilliant but tiny burst of X-rays emitted by vaporizing wires to create striking images of tiny subjects, such as the fruit fly. The machine that produced the images runs a powerful electric current through a pair of crossed wires, each many times finer than a human hair. The current causes the wires to explode, forming a very small plasma--a dense gas so hot that the atoms in it break down, emitting X-rays.

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Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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