Lightsabers in the real world


sci_laserchloe
Photo by Chloe Coffman |

A real lightsaber would be a dream come true for millions of Star Wars fans. 

And although a fully functioning lightsaber does not currently exist, there have been breakthroughs that show promise.

Theoretically, there are multiple problems in making lightsabers a reality, according to the Institute of Physics. It notes that it would be difficult to contain the laser in the length of a short blade while also allowing it to slice through objects.

Producing and maintaining a laser requires equipment which would not fit into the small handle of a lightsaber. Strong lasers require a great amount of energy, so the saber would need to be plugged into a power source, which may reduce the usefulness of the weapon, according to The Institute of Physics.

Despite these hindrances, progress is being made in the field. In 2013, scientists at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology were able to move photons within hardened molecules, allowing them to “clash” against each other, according to the Harvard Gazette.

“When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflecting each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies,” said Mikhail Lukin, a professor at Harvard, to The Gazette.

Laser beams could be used to actually cool down the atoms. In this case, lasers would not be the main component of the saber, but rather a helpful tool, Vladen Vuletic, a professor at MIT, told WBZ-TV.

More recently, there has been an unveiling of a lightsaber-like weapon by the US Air Force. The weapon is called the TEC torch. It is a blade that burns at 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily slice through half inch steel bars, according to Engadget.com.

Although such weapons would be greatly valued, it is easy to see how dangerous they could be. As with any weapon, there is the risk of self-induced harm and fatal accidents.

Lightsabers do not have a place in the hands of the general public, said Jamie Lee, a School of Engineering sophomore.

“I do not think that lightsabers should be available to the public, because there is a chance that people will abuse the technology.” she said.“It would be cool to see a lightsaber, but I think for research, there are more important things we could focus our time and money on."


Madhuri Bhupathiraju

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