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Science trumps the Force to create a real-life lightsaber

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#1 KingCracker


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Posted 28 September 2013 - 05:45

In journalism, there's something called a lede, which is just another word for the main or most important part of your story. Normally you want to lay it out for the reader in the first sentence or two. Obviously, I'm hesitating here.

That's because I can't decide if it's more important that researchers at MIT and Harvard have just managed to create a previously unobserved form of matter by getting photons to bind together into molecules, or the fact that the result is basically a real-life lightsaber -- that could be part of a quantum computer one day.

Actually, I think what this story is really about is...friendship.

See, photons -- which are the elementary particles of light -- tend to be massless and kind of aloof. If you shoot two laser beams at each other, the photons just pass right through each other without so much as a hello or a high five.

But when the researchers fired a few photons into a vacuum chamber with a cloud of extremely cold rubidium atoms to take advantage of an effect called a Rydberg blockade, the photons started hanging out and even left the chamber together as the first "photonic molecule" -- a sort of quantum bromance -- ever observed.

And it's that bond between new particle bros that creates the new form of matter, which bears a resemblance to that most awesome weapon from a galaxy far, far away.


#2 McKay


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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:04

Yea! Science bitch!




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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:04

Cool :woot:

#4 Raze


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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:37

Can I preorder a couple of these now? :drool:

#5 gameboy1977



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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:36

that is cool!

#6 Jeston


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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:47



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