Researchers at MIT and Harvard have created a new form of matter by binding photons together into molecules, thus proving that the Force is not always a solution and that it’s possible to become a Jedi if you are a physics mastermind.
The experiment involved shooting photons in a vacuum chamber filled with a cloud of extremely cold rubidium atoms, in a successful attempt to advantage of the Rydberg blockade. The researchers noticed that photons started binding to each other, thus creating for the first time a photonic molecule. This marks the beginning of a new form of matter, something we don’t actually hear every day.
Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin said that “It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers. When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”
Quantum computers could make use of such a technology, as Professor Lukin says: “Photons remain the best possible means to carry quantum information. The handicap, though, has been that photons don’t interact with each other.” Modern chip makers that try to convert light into electric signals could benefit from this new form of matter, as well.
Not at last, Professor Lukin mentioned that someday we might get to see 3D objects created from light. In other words, the virtual world from TRON could one day become a reality. As long as we don’t disintegrate when touching the walls of light, everything is fine with me.
The above image depicts how photons get to become friends. This could mean that instead of fading away, light particles with bonds between them are here to stay. Such a technology could also give birth to photon drive, pretty much a la Star Trek.
An important question that needs to be answered, though, is what color is the beam? Some point out that aesthetics are important, and if you come to think about it, the color of the lightsaber made the difference in Star Wars between Jedi masters and Sith Lords.
It might take a while till objects made of light become true, but it’s very important that the ground was set for this technology. From light sabers to space travel, the possibilities are really endless here.
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