There’s a reason that Star Wars is one of the most popular movie franchises in history. Sure, there’s the classic battle of good vs evil. There’s action and adventure. There’s a romance between the perennial rogue and the princess who went from wearing cinnamon buns on her head to a gold bikini. But nothing compares to the futuristic gadgets, especially the light sabers.
Someday soon they might be a reality. Or at least the “light behaving like mass” technology looks like it’s ready to leap forward:
Scientists from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology have demonstrated that light can behave in a way previously observed only in works of science fiction — that is, photons can bond and create a molecule.
The fundamental properties of light derive from the fact that photons, which are the quanta of light, do not interact with one another.
That’s most easily seen by shining two beams of light at each other cross-wise — the beams pass through one other.
“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,” said Mikhail Lukin, a professor of physics at Harvard University.
Light’s ability to behave this way has been theoretically predicted by scientists for some time, although this is the first time experimental proof has been provided.
This technology has so many mind bend-y possibilities. The technology could lead to big development for quantum computers. It could also lead us to the creation of complex 3D structures such as crystals made completely from light.
So over the holidays when you’re watching that Star Wars Marathon on the SyFy Network, know that the thing that Yoda uses to kick Count Dooku’s ass is only the beginning.