The lightsaber, the most iconic weapon of the Star Wars franchise can deflect blaster shots and cut through objects in a breeze. But science fiction aside, can the lightsaber really be made with modern technology?
According to the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) laser tech expert, Dr Bi Guijin, it could be possible IF scientists can resolve three hurdles that stand in the way of building a lightsaber – containing the laser beam, solidifying the laser beam and creating a small yet powerful energy source.
Here are what he said in a post in Faces of A*STAR on the A*STAR website:
On containing the laser beam
“If we find a way to use an optical system to redirect the laser beam and confine it within a predetermined range, that is one potential solution to control the length of the laser beam.”
On solidifying the laser beam
“Lasers are essentially electromagnetic waves. Like how two magnets can repel each other, we can also allow lasers to interact with each other depending on how we polarise the beams. It’s a mix of selecting the right type of wavelengths and the right source of the laser beam.”
On creating a high power source
“In my mind, I think the most possible lightweight solution is to use an atom source. It is a similar concept to a nuclear-pumped laser, whereby a nuclear reaction is used to generate laser beams. But this presents an even bigger hurdle. There are many safety concerns when harnessing nuclear energy. It is currently used for warships, submarines and power plants, whereby it can generate huge amounts of energy. As you can imagine, it is a controlled item.”
Sounds like a piece of cake? No? Oh well, at least we can still enjoy the Star Wars movies, games and cartoons and hope that one day it’ll come true.
Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with You.