“The Force is strong in you”
Who hasn’t pretended at one time or another to be a Jedi Knight or maybe your bent was towards the dark side of the Force with Darth Vadar? Of course complete with the obligatory broom handle as your lightsaber!
Well you’ve got to love technology as it would appear that we may be able to ditch the brooms and pick up our very own lightsabers. I’m with Belinda Carlisle, ‘Heaven is a place on earth’ !
Clever physicists, and I assume Star Wars fans, from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a way to bind photons, which in turn form new molecules, a mass of molecules which when bought together create that famous humming sound from the weaponry that is a lightsaber.
Hang on though. Let’s not get too excited. The molecules forming (I won’t pretend I understand it – now if it were cables … J ) and the humming sound are only the first step but they now have a greater understanding as to how to proceed.
In fact would appear as with so many scientific breakthroughs this development was stumbled upon by chance while trying to bring another creation to fruition. The scientists were attempting to develop photons to be used in a quantum supercomputer. Using a laser they blasted photons through a cloud of cooled rubidium atoms. Remarkably they found that the photons clumped together.
Over to Professor Mikhail Lukin to explain, “Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that photons are massless and do not interact. What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they act as though they have mass, and bind together to form molecules."
So what began as a figment of George Lucas’s imagination could be drawing ever closer to reality and with the Disney sequels ready for release in 2015, 2017 and 2019 who would bet against the Lightsaber appearing in shops worldwide.
“May the Force be with you.”
Until time.Steve Wilkin