We all hoped we'd get to see lightsabers—or flying cars—in our time and it seems two scientists have made just the breakthrough to get us to that next level of technology. As CNET reports on Sept. 27, researchers from MIT and Harvard discovered a new form of matter that resembles a lightsaber.
Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin stated in a news release that the lightsaber comparison isn't far off: "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"
The process was to take basic particles of light—photons— which don't usually interact with other photons and have no mass and try to get them to bind together. Normally, photons pass right through each other. But when placed into a vacuum with chilled rubidium, the photons bonded and left the chambers as the first' photonics molecule,' Notably, this is the first time this molecule has ever been achieved, though Lukin notes that it has been discussed theoretically for a time.
For now scientists are looking at using this new form of matter to build quantum computers or crystals out of light. Surely, creating lightsabers will be included in there somewhere.