Scientists create new lightsaber-like material, time to pewpewpewSeptember 27, 2013 6 Email article | Print article
Scientists from Harvard and MIT have recently a new form of matter that sounds like it could be the genesis of Star Wars. The new form of photon-based matter that is quite similar to that of lightsabers according to the physicist involved
“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,” says Harvard physicist Mikhail Lukin.
Researchers began by pumped rubidium atoms into a vacuum chamber, then used lasers to cool the cloud of atoms to just a few degrees above absolute zero. Using extremely weak laser pulses, they then fired single photons into the cloud of atoms.
As the photons enter the cloud of cold atoms, Lukin said, its energy excites atoms along its path, causing the photon to slow dramatically. As the photon moves through the cloud, that energy is handed off from atom to atom, and eventually exits the cloud with the photon.
But unfortunately for sci-fi fans, this new discovery isn’t going to be implemented in any kind of laser sword weaponry anytime soon. The good news is, the light-matter will be used to advance quantum computing, with the aim of creating more advanced and complex logical circuits.
Maybe, someday, they’ll do what we really want with it and make those lightsabers.