Scientists develop Star Wars lightsaber technology

Harvard physicists say they have discovered a way to make photons interact just like in the Jedi weapons

It is the news all Star Wars fans have been waiting for – scientists reckon they have developed the technology to make real life lightsabers.


High level physicists writing in the latest issue of prestigious science journal Nature say they have hit upon a technique to bind photons together – meaning in geek speak that they can create a device that operates almost exactly like the fabled Jedi weapons in the films.

Whether or not they will replicate the phwoom! phwoom! sound made when wielded by warring Jedis, it is too early to say, but Harvard physics boffin Mikhail Lukin told Nature: “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.

“It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers. When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”

Whatever happens to the technology, it won’t be long before fans get to see the fictional sabers on the big screen. J J Abrams is directing the first of a trilogy of Star Wars film for Disney, a deal made possible after the studio bought up Lucas Films for more than $4bn.