Feeds

Boffins have constructed a new LIGHT SABRE. Their skills are complete

Truly, they are as powerful as the Emperor has foreseen

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Top boffins in the US say they have managed to make light behave in the same way as solid matter – and they've saved us the trouble by suggesting that this is pretty much the same as building a working Jedi light sabre.

"It's not an inapt analogy to compare this to light sabers," boasts Harvard physics prof Mikhail Lukin, one of the top brains involved in the new developments.

"The physics of what's happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies," he adds.

Lukin and his colleagues at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms say that they have managed to fashion molecules – which must in general be composed in humdrum style from atoms and so forth, things having mass – out of photons. They did this by a cunning process involving (as one really might have expected) ultracold atoms, in this case rubidium ones used to slow down individual photons to the point where they actually bound together into molecules.

Molecules made of light.

"We do this for fun," explains Lukin. "It's a new state of matter."

A press release from Harvard, highlighting the research, goes so far as to add:

Lukin also suggested that the system might one day even be used to create complex three-dimensional structures – such as crystals – wholly out of light.

It seems that the professor is well up on his Star Wars lore, as dedicated students of the Force will usually tell you that a crystal of some kind is necessary for a Jedi to construct his or her signature weapon.

Full detail is available, for those with the intellectual grunt to cope with it, here courtesy of hefty boffinry mag Nature. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.