But the sticky tape isn't dangerous because it the phenomenon only happens in a vacuum.
A team at UCLA made the discovery and hope it might one day be harnessed to provide portable X-Ray machines which do not need an external power supply for use in developing countries.
James M. Hevezi, chairman of the American College of Radiology's Medical Physics Commission, said: “It's a phenomenon called 'triboluminescence.
“You might try an experiment where you go into a dark closet and pull Scotch tape off a regular roll.
“You can see some flashes of light at the point where the tape leaves the roll. That's the triboluminescence phenomenon.”