Nice and easy, people. Be calm. Ready? Lightsabers are a thing now. Like, really real.
A team of scientists headed by Harvard physics professor Mikhail Lukin and MIT physics professor Vladan Vuletic have discovered a way to make light behave as a solid, meaning that creating a fairly realistic looking light saber is a possibility, but, alas, it will only bounce off of things instead of cutting off hands like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Not yet, at least
“Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that photons are massless, and that they do not interact with each other,” Lukin said in a press release.
“What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they begin to act as though they have mass, and they bind together to form molecules. This type of photonic bound state has been discussed theoretically for quite a while, but until now it hadn’t been observed.”
And, scientists being cool with Star Wars says the similarity to the Jedi weapon isn’t that far off:
“It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers,” Lukin said. “When these photons interact with each other, they pushing against and deflecting each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”