Everything I know about chemistry, I learned from watching Breaking Bad (sorry Mr. Garth – you were a lousy teacher) – and I never even bothered taking physics in high school or college, so most of the science-y stuff in this story might as well be in Chinese. That being said, the practical comparison is totally awesome and should appeal to even lowly geeks who didn’t get a doctorate from a major university.
Scientists working at Harvard and MIT have created a previously unseen form of matter – one that coaxes photons into forming molecules with each other – a kind of matter that had only been dreamt of until recently. That’s cool and all – but what does it even mean? Basically, science might have just taken the first step toward creating real-life lightsabers and Green Lantern rings.
Harvard physics professor Mikhail Lukin had this to say on the subject:
“It’s not an inapt analogy to compare this to lightsabers. When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflecting each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”
Previously, photons (massless particles that makes light) passed through each other when they were in proximity. However, as a result of this experiment, scientists have figured out a way to make them bond and form molecules – meaning they have a physical state that could allow them to bang into each other in say… a lightsaber blade.
Don’t rush out to preorder your very own laser sword just yet (but someone please put me down for one double-bladed Darth Maul model, please), because while making lightsabers would be the greatest use for this tech that I can imagine, science is really trying to figure out how to use it for quantum computing… whatever that is. Maybe quantum computing will be life altering – but I’m willing to bet a lightsaber or a Green Lantern ring would be about a billion times more exciting.
Here's a video that helps explain it more.
[via Topless Robot]
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