Good news, Star Wars fans! If you’re reading this you did live long enough to finally see the day that science caught up with imagination and figured out how to actually make a real lightsaber.
Physicists at Harvard and MIT experimenting with photons recently managed to cram the particles together so that they’d form a molecule unlike any other matter. This photon molecule acts just like a lightsaber. Forget the fact that they used lasers to discover a new form of matter, can we use it to cut stuff?
Yes, we can.
“It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to light sabers,” said one of the researchers in a press release. “When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”
Read: The scientists lead with lightsabers.
The only downside is that you still have to live quite a bit longer before you can price-match one at your local Wal Mart. In fact, the physicists aren’t terribly concerned with the “cutting through an endless horde of droids” applications at all.
“We do this for fun, and because we’re pushing the frontiers of science,” Harvard physics professor Mikhail Lukin said. “But it feeds into the bigger picture of what we’re doing because photons remain the best possible means to carry quantum information. The handicap, though, has been that photons don’t interact with each other.”
Yeah, they want to build a supercomputer. Which is still pretty cool, it’s just not a lightsaber. But it’s the thought that counts, right?