Along with the return of Star Wars in the big screen last year came the reawakened desire for one thing fans dreamed to get their hands on since its first appearance in A New Hope in 1997 – lightsabers. It has no practical use in real life, but that does not stop the growing fanbase of the space opera from formulating theories and scientific concepts that would take them to a step closer in creating an actual lightsaber. Because come on, let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love lightsabers?
Based on the books and other Star Wars related materials, lightsabers need a crystal and a hundred other small parts. Using these parts and the crystal, a beam of energy will come out from the hilt and form the blade that can cut through almost anything. Even though it is named as a lightsaber, it is a common misconception my many to think that it is purely made of light. Science tells us that because light has no mass, it cannot cut through anything, and the same will be true for our beloved galactic samurai swords if they were indeed made of light.
Lasers, on the other hand, are close to what a real lightsaber would be. Science again tells us that a laser is also light, but focused to a fine point that it may be used for cutting. However, the issues concerning the properties of laser takes us farther to the possibility of wielding a real lightsaber. As we know, laser does not bend, like light. For it to end, it has to be connected into something. It cannot be stopped at a desired length, like the lightsabers we see in Star Wars: Rebels. Another thing about lasers is that it requires a lot of energy to be powered. Batteries from the nearest convenience store wouldn’t work, and probably even creating a portable case for the battery taken from your dad’s car wouldn’t do the trick. As close as a laser may seem to the real thing, it’s still as impossible as seeing Alderaan again.
Thankfully, a laser is not the only thing closest to a lightsaber. There is something that can be harnessed and is already being used in industrial settings to cut metals since the 1980s, and that is none other than the fourth state of matter, Plasma. However, like lasers, plasma cutters are attached into machines, and so they could not be strapped into the worker’s belts like a Jedi. Plasma arcs emitted by the cutters are also short, measurable in millimeters – it would be more like a light-poker instead of a lightsaber, but hey, who would complain?
In 2013, Fox News released an article of how the scientists from Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms accidentally found a way to create hardened light that can cut. This is only good news for scientists, not for Star Wars fans. Apparently the CUA has no intention of using this to actually make a lightsaber.
If you’re hungry for more lightsaber stuff, watch this guy make his own “lightsaber”.
Written by Kyle Castillo for: