This is the kind of story that millions of Star Wars fans around the world have been dreaming about: a real-life lightsaber. Well this seems to be exactly what researchers from the universities of Harvard and MIT in the U.S. have been able to create.
These scientists have managed to bind protons together into molecules, thus forming a previously unseen form of matter: a “photonic molecule”, by using a new technique. Although it wasn’t their aim, they have essentially created a real-life lightsaber by accident, as this bond between proton particles resembles the hugely loved weapon from the Star Wars universe.
“It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers,” said Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin in a news 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.”
If you are a Star Wars fanatic though, and dream of honing your Jedi lightsaber skills, don’t get too carried away just yet. Although there could be a potential to create a weapon from this technology one day, the more likely use of this discovery would be for advanced quantum computing.
Lukin states that: “Photons remain the best possible means to carry quantum information. The handicap, though, has been that photons don’t interact with each other.” That is until this discovery was made, which could lead to advanced micro-chips in computers, and fully revolutionize data transfer and storage. There is even the potential for the creation advanced 3D structures like crystals, made fully from light, all from this breakthrough discovery.
What was science-fiction in movies is getting closer and closer in real-life, as scientists make ever more mind blowing discoveries. Do you think science is going too far, or are you excited by the potential?