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Star Wars: How the lightsaber works.

  1. Jan 10, 2013 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I have recently become interested in the physics behind the Star Wars saga and more particularly in the lightsaber. I have found an article on the web about, but not being very good in physics yet, there is a part which I find very hard to understand. I was just wondering if you could try to explain that part to me in a simpler way.

    "When the fully constructed lightsaber is activated, the internal power cell generates photo-electric energy by which the plasma blade is focused through the crystal. a non-thermal beam of plasma is packed tightly and focused through anywhere from 1 to 3 crystals with multiple facets. The formed beam is positively charged and is attracted back to the emitting hilt by way of negatively-charged high energy flux apertures. A power cell superconductor is then used to recycle individually emitted plasma packets into one long beam which continues to self regenerate during the time duration over which the lightsaber remains activated. The blade is tangible and because both blades on two dueling sabers are positively charged, the blades are capable of repelling one another."

    Thank you in advance for your help, and may the Force be with you. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2013 #2


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    Sorry, but this knowledge is too dangerous. We cannot put it in your hands, until you have absolved your Jedi education.
  4. Jan 10, 2013 #3


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    It is science fiction, not science. I have no idea how the first part could be related to real physics, but here is an example which does not work:
    Electrostatic repulsion works at a distance as well - if it can stop a lightsaber quickly within millimeters (as shown in the movies), repulsion would be so strong that those lightsabers would never touch in a combat. In addition, they would quickly attract electrons from their environment and become neutral.
  5. Jan 10, 2013 #4
    ah, grasshopper, it appears you seek knowledge of the imagination.....of fiction:

    ― Albert Einstein
  6. Jan 10, 2013 #5
    Ah ok. I know it is only fiction but the guy who wrote the article is trying to explain how the lightsaber works, and since I don't understand a big part of it, I just wanted to know if his explanation was coherent or not.
  7. Jan 10, 2013 #6


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  8. Jan 10, 2013 #7


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    Prof Michio Kaku discussed making a lightsaber in a 3 part youtube video:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  9. Jan 10, 2013 #8
    Lightsabers are created using special crystals, mostly fabricated from the planet Ilum. There are naturally occurring crystals such as Kunda, but they are usually synthesized. The plasma is emitted and controlled by using the Force (some lightsabers, such as Yoda's, does not have an "on/off" button. Yoda uses the Force to draw the plasma blade out to the length he wishes). I don't know much about the science but I think there is another field around the plasma blade, similar to Superman's thin field around his body which is responsible for his impenetrability.
  10. Jan 10, 2013 #9


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  11. Jan 10, 2013 #10


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    That was cool. I watched all three.

    I started researching how I would build one after I saw this thread and started out by researching the technology involved in building a Jacobs Ladder, as I always considered the light sabre to be a focused plasma beam. (Don't know why, but light never made sense to me. Episode 1/3 of Prof. Kaku's video explained that.)

    Then I came back here and saw your link and watched the videos.
    It's always nice when someone else does your homework for you, and then shares it.

    Perhaps in 50 years, someone will build a working model. That would be cool.

    But as a weapon of choice?


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anEuw8F8cpE ​
    hmmm.. I wonder if that scene was inspired by star wars? Han always carried a blaster.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  12. Jan 10, 2013 #11
    Yeah, Right. You don't seriously think that's true do you? That's just what they want you to believe.

    No. A coherent explanation would involve the use of Silicon Oxide Boron Erbium lasers.
  13. Jan 10, 2013 #12


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    I believe the scheduled scene was am athletic rough and tumble fight between Indy and his bullwhip and the swordsman. But Ford had 'flu, and wasn't feeling up to it. He observed that Indy also carries a revolver...
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