Lightsabers: The Magnetic Truth
Star Wars fans rejoice! Scientists are theorizing how to make fictional lightsabers a reality. Jedis throughout the sci-fi series wield a lightsaber, complex weapon comprised of a focusing ring, main hilt, blade emitter, pommel cap, hand grip, controls, energy core, and, most importantly, a blue or red kyber crystal.
The rare kyber crystals, found across the galaxy, contain concentrated energy and are attuned to the Force. While we don’t have access to kyber crystals or the Force here on Earth, we do have another force we can use to potentially create lightsabers: magnetic fields.
How Lightsabers Could Use Plasma
Before we discuss magnetic fields, we first need to identify the material needed to recreate the four-foot-long blade. A realistic suggestion for how to recreate the technology is the use of plasma. Plasma, an extremely hot gas reaching temperatures near 10,000 degrees fahrenheit, is considered the fourth state of matter. The atoms in the plasma move extremely quickly. As they collide, electrons are knocked off the atoms, leaving a mix of positively charged particles and negatively charged particles. When the electrons are stripped from the atoms, the material glows.
The Power of Magnets
If we were to use plasma to build a lightsaber, we would need to find a way to contain it -- this is where magnets shine. Since plasma consists of charged particles, it can be manipulated by magnetic fields. This is similar to the technology used in nuclear fusion research. Magnets can be used to shape and confine the plasma, as the plasma follows the magnetic field lines.
Magnetic fields and plasma alone can’t be used to create lightsabers, however; if you were to attempt to duel with two plasma lightsabers, the blades would pass through one another. A solution for this would be to create housing for the plasma that can withstand hot temperatures. The material for the “energy core” can’t soften, distort, or melt when it comes in contact with high heat.
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