Ah yes, lightersabers, the most renown iconic weapon found in the Star Trek, I mean Star Wars universe. If you have yet to see the movies (please go and see it), the lightsaber is as the name implies, a glowing beam of light/laser that is attached to a hilt. It looks something like this.
Every fanboy who has seen the movies, will at one point of time wonder to himself, is it possible to build one. So we first need to look at the properties of the lightsaber. It is DEFINITELY hot enough to cut through metal doors and robots. It is also interestingly short enough so that the user will not end up swinging a ridiculously long 999999km beam of light and massacre everyone in it’s path.
So, is it possible to build a lightsaber? Well, it definitely cannot be made of laser, because laser, like any kinds of light, will never stop. Light just keeps on travelling non-stop unless something can reflect or absorb it. Some people have tried to build a saber with a little mirror at the tip of the blade to solve this problem, so that the laser does not over extend, but along with the issues of “where to reflect the laser to?” , there is also the problem of not being able to use the tip to stab since there will be no more laser at the end. Also, on the topic of reflection, all you need to defeat a lightsaber, would be a mirror. Hold the mirror nicely in place, and the lightsaber user will find his own beam of laser reflected back into himself.
Some other people have suggested that perhaps, the saber is made out of PLASMA. This is a bit more of a logical idea. To begin with, plasma, is gas atoms being ionized (removed of their electrons), and is the 4th state of matter (solid, liquid, gas, plasma). Florescent lights are a common example of plasma. When you see the light glowing, you are actually observing plasma. Based on the density of the gas, plasma can become super heated to melt metal as well! Sounds like what we are looking for.
But what about the issue of length? Well, there is a method for this. Magnetic fields! Magnetic fields are able to dictate where the plasma moves to because plasma, having their electrons removed, are positively charged particles. So the recipe we need to build a lightsaber is a dense amount of plasma, and a strong magnetic field. There are still many questions unanswered:
“Why do 2 blades of plasma clash and knock into each other like real metal blades, when it should by right, pass through each other?”
“Why doesn’t the heat from the plasma burn off the user’s hands instantly?”
Of course, Star Wars is still a science fiction, and many plot loopholes still exist, but for now, it is a new hope for many movie fans. 🙂
- Referenced from: http://www.space.com/31361-building-a-real-lightsaber.html
- Referenced from: https://lh4.ggpht.com/E0wMKccRH-RGDPPsEyZH7RIPgTACznTzqEDWm_4gCrs2cpGADPBteZuPfArP_isbpg=h900
- Referenced from: https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/lightsaber.png
- Referenced from: http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=59