Power of Lightsabers and Colors


08-02-2005 11:38:03

Okay everyone. All of you who know your science know that light is made up of colors. Now when electrons are excited they give off energy, which is why you see colors. Also, the color that appears tells how much energy is being givin off until the electron returns to its natural state. Now hang with me, but a purple color being shown would indicate a strong amount of energy being released and a red color would indicate a low amount of energy, or power. The colors are in the following order, lowest energy to highest:

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Purple

Now to lightsabers. Wouldn't a purple lightasber be more powerful than a red lightsaber? Just a casual question, and maybe a little bit comlicated, so tell me if you have an answer.



08-02-2005 13:06:23

You can't really use science to explain a lightsaber because I don't think a lightsaber can even exist in our world. The "science" used in Star Wars is normally vastly different than the one we use. I believe it is normally the type/amount of crystals used in the construction of a lightsaber that can effect the "strength" of the lightsaber along with the colour. The colour itself I don't believe ever plays a role in the SW universe


08-02-2005 13:11:21

It would probably refer to the energy generated by the vibrations of the crystal

If it followed our own physics, the purple one probably is slightly more powerful. But the difference is so small as to be negligible.

Kaine Mandaala

08-02-2005 14:37:43

A guy I knew was convinced that the only way to create a lightsaber in the physical world was to find a way to make a beam of energy arc upon itself. Since I have no knowledge of physics I can't say whether that thought is plausible.

As for colors being more or less powerful, I believe the difference would truly be insignificant.

The only official use of color in the SW universe in terms of lightsabers is for story-telling. Traditionally Blue and Green indicate Lightside Jedi, green usually indicating masters. Red is Sith.

[EDIT] I haven't seen any real explaination for Mace Windu's purple, other than that SLJ suggested it...


08-02-2005 14:50:47

Oh! Oh! Lightsaber physics!

And... light isn't a physical entity meaning that the two lightsabers would just pass through each other and everything they touched!!!

So... uhh... no... real physics and Star Wars don't mix :S


08-02-2005 14:56:41

Mace Windu's could be accounted for as being a master of Vapaad, he was the only person ever to master it after all (well, other than his own apprentice Depa Billaba but she went nuts and ended up floating in a bacta tank for the rest of her life so whatever). In a way that sort of works from a logical standpoint, Vapaad is the form closest to the dark side, and if you cross blue and red you get purple :P

Though... seriously... its probably easier just to say that the crystals needed to make it purple are more rare meaning only the highest ranking members of the Jedi Council would have been allowed to play with them.

As for making a beam of light arc back, that's about the only explanation as you say, Kaine. Then of course you somehow need to explain why that beam of light can now cut through things when normally lights bouncing around everywhere and doesn't harm a fly. Then theres the problem of once that beam of light has arcced back where does it go then? Arcs back again? How do you turn it off then without it shooting off like a laser blast? Coupled is then the problem that any wave that oscillates, even if it was in such a tall elongated shape as would be necessary to produce a lightsaber doesn't literally oscillate in the same dimension as we think of it, meaning its not going to curve back and forth like a sinusoidal wave drawn on a sheet of paper.

So... uhh... enough physics talk. Star Wars = Death Stars. Death Stars = more energy than a black hole. I rest my case :P


08-02-2005 15:32:11

However, when it comes to real phisics, the SW universe follows in some of the rules. Also, colors always happen the same way, so that would mean that colors are indefinate and therefor the reverse is also true. In other words, perhaps the colors happen in a different way in the SW universe, but then all physics would be different. That cannot be true because some physics are described in the SW worlds and that would mean there has to be a way to prove things.

I know the SW universe is not real (WHAT?! ;) ) but some things have to be constants. Also, just because our RL constants do not apply yet, does not mean they never will. Another thing, a lightsaber is an intense beam of light, completely focused and pure power. This means that the lightsaber does not have to be solid in any area. It is kinda like heat, heat can effect evrything around it, but never actually be seen. Heat waves can be seen, and if those heat waves were intense enough, the energy excited enough, they might make a pure blade of energy, or heat.

Energy is relative, and it cannot be explained as we have know definate way of proving it is even real. All we know about energy is from scientist's theories and educated guesses. Those "guesses" do not explain alot of things like black holes. We humans always just try to find a way to "fit" things into out theories, so they will be true. We do not stop to think about if the theories are false. We always assume them to be true.

I have no idea how I have gotten onto this tangent, but perhaps if we think hard enough we will be able to come up with our own "guesses." We may even come up with a new RL scientific theory. :P


08-02-2005 16:47:32

A Physicist can correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm a Biologist...

Energy is energy. There are different forms of gathering and transmitting energy, but it is still the same. It is the method of transferring energy that can be (in)efficient.

When you look at "heat waves"...you aren't seeing heat. You are seeing hyper excited gas molocules colliding within a given area. Low temperature/pressure vs high temperature/pressure. You can see steam, which is water vapor, but you aren't necessarily "seeing' heat.

As for focusing an intense beam of light? We can already do that. Getting light to arc back on itself is a problem, since what happens when two waves in opposite directions of the same frequency meet? They cancel each other out.


08-02-2005 16:54:53

See... the big problem with lightsabers is this:

If the light arcs back it's going to cancel out the forward emissions resulting in a net result of zero.

Hence, our intense beam of light suddenly disappears :P


08-02-2005 16:57:34

I know, I was just using the heat waves as an example. And yes we can already make an intense wave of light, I was just saying that a even more intense energy field.

Hmmmm.....perhaps if you make the arc double around and come right next to each other, would they still cancel out. Perhaps if they do not touch they would not rupture. However, then would the electronmagnetic fields given off by the two still cancel each other out? Or would the energy of the molecules combine with the air molecules around it and do something different?

When it comes to getting the beam of energy to arc back (I am no physicist :D ) but couldn't you just somehow transmit a really strong charge opposite the one you are projecting to get it to come back?


08-02-2005 17:10:14

Just read this thread and had to say I'm quite impressed that people are actually taking time to think about the physics of star wars. Physics isn't usually that popular of a field of discussion and SW physics has even a smaller target audience so what I'm seeing here is really something.

Now on to the last post: if you somehow seperated the beams, one going out and the other coming toward the source you would have some interference between them. The electriical and the magnetic fields generated by the condensed waves of light (almost a laser) would interact but without testing we can't be sure how.

Second, if the beams were seperated you would lose energy to the air around the beams but there would not be any reaction between the beams and the air. Light being energy is generally not reactive but is adsorbed or emitted by materials. The air would heat up and remove energy from the light beams but it would in no way react with the light (except if ou consider the scattering effects of the gas molecules in the air).

Fianlly, if you wanted to get the light emitted to return or arc back an opposite charge would not be sufficient to do this. In general light is non-polar since it's not made up of atoms with unbalanced electrons. Light is energy and as such has no charge. You could probably use some sort of field but then you would have the sameproblems described above.

Oh, you may not want to quote me on these things. I'm only a biochemist so quantum mechanics isn't my favorite area of study.

Sith Bloodfyre

08-02-2005 17:30:16

As far as the whole Mace Windu having a purple lightsaber thing, it was just Samuel L. Jackson wanting to set Mace apart from the rest, from everything I've read. He just didn't want to be one of the same old masters, so they gave him a purple lightsaber to draw attention.


08-02-2005 17:41:24

This is actually kinda interesting, which is why I started this topic. I want ot continue this post to other topics, but only when we finish this one. I want to discuss many of the other SW science stuff.

Back to the main topic, so what ways can you get a beam of light to bend back? If you could do that then you would be able to solve half of the problem with the lightsaber. What theories have been tried and what were the results?

Aidan Kincaid

08-02-2005 22:15:46

Gonna have to go with the color not mattering theory most people seem to share. Even if colors were stronger - a lightsaber cuts through anything but other lightsabers and cortosis... how can one color be measured as stronger then another? "well, your blade cut through the guys hand in .3 secs, and yours .02"


08-02-2005 22:54:50

Another possibility and this is more likely...

Is that the lightsabers don't emit light at all. Light, as has been pointed out, would not be a good weapon. It's like if I shined a flashlight at someone. Doesn't hurt'em.

More likely, the lightsaber crystals do....something....and generate matter's highest known state, the state of plasma. Plasma's properties and the uses of a lightsaber seem to go well together. Now as to how the lightsaber does this and is able to contain the plasma beats me - but that's why it's science fiction! :D


08-02-2005 23:08:36

that's a good one, I never thought of plasmas.

They come in varying colors, they can be directed by electric and magnetic fields and they can burn through some materials in addition to some of their other freaky properties. Nice call on that one.

For information light can be a pretty deadly weapon, I have this laser at school that causes blocks of wood to burst into flames even though I can't see the beam.

Sephiroth Kali

09-02-2005 11:18:29

I think ive gone into a Jedi Realest forum.


09-02-2005 14:12:18

A guy I knew was convinced that the only way to create a lightsaber in the physical world was to find a way to make a beam of energy arc upon itself. Since I have no knowledge of physics I can't say whether that thought is plausible.

As for colors being more or less powerful, I believe the difference would truly be insignificant.

The only official use of color in the SW universe in terms of lightsabers is for story-telling. Traditionally Blue and Green indicate Lightside Jedi, green usually indicating masters. Red is Sith.

[EDIT] I haven't seen any real explaination for Mace Windu's purple, other than that SLJ suggested it...

The jedi order mined theirs from a specific planet (dont know which one) this explained the wide amounts of colors they could choose from. Then the Empire siezed control of most mineable planets, this left very small sources that they could get their crystals, that is why you only see the green and blue. Red was used by sith because they made thier crystals through alchemy (spelling.) All of them were red and chemically created, they did this so they could make their crystal stronger and more durable than that of natural crystals.

I do know a tad bit for all of you that think im completely worthless :w00t:


09-02-2005 15:13:51

Actually, Lucas has stated that the jedi would only have green or blue lightsabers. And the Empire was created after the Jedi (or most of them) were wiped out. Hence if there were more blade colours, we would already have seen them.

There is no "SW" explanation, at least not that I know of, that explains why Mace has a purple saber. As said before, Sam Jackson asked if Mace could have a purple saber and that was that.


09-02-2005 17:23:37

I recall from somewhere that Lucas orignally made Luke's lightsaber green because blue wasn't seen well in that whole Jabba's Sail Barge scene.

Mike Halcyon

11-02-2005 18:16:41

I haven't read through everything, so I don't know if it has already been stated, but lightsabers are not composed of light. The beams are energy - whatever energy that may be (I assume some sort of contained, heated plasma) - so the explanation about electrons really doesn't grip here.

Also, as far as I recall, different colors are due to different light (quantum) amplitudes/frequency - not quantitatively.


11-02-2005 20:37:21

The color of the blade change depending on wich crystal you place inside. The reason why Jedi have blue and green is because it's the only color they have farmed from the mines on a planet I can't recall the name. The Siths on the other hand have red one because their crystal isn't natural but made trought the Sith Alchemy and some other Dark Side teaching. So it's unnatural and bloody red.
Windu's was a made about the same way of the Siths but using ancient Jedi teaching but since it's still an un-natural crystal it took a purple color. That goes well along with his Form VII being the closest one to the Siths combat teaching in term or form. Windu has been dangerously getting closer and closer to the dark side heh


11-02-2005 21:09:10

Thats what i said Khan :P

If you want to read it first had run to a book store and looke at "Star Wars: The essential guide to weapons and technology" Go to lightsabers and read the first page of the section.


15-02-2005 08:34:08

My lighsaber's blade and hilt is all Platinum, cause its the color of the Royal Mandalore crest and was the color of Mandalore's armor. I am proud of my custom made saber and its rare clear force crystal from the jungle moon of Dxun.

Nekura Manji

19-02-2005 04:41:32

Raid, in case you hadn't noticed, this thread is all about the realistic applications of lightsabre technology as it applies to the real world. Not boasting about your 'custom sabre', which is actually just one of the flash-created ones. _

So, anyway, yanking this back on topic... I think that, as advanced as we are now, it's going to take a loooong time before somebody can work out how to actually create a lightsabre. But when that day comes, the likelihood is that they'll use the properties of plasma and try to find some way to contain it in a blade shape. But like I said, it's going to take a long time. Try four hundred years, or so. ^_^

Macron Sadow

25-02-2005 09:24:17

Everything I have read on them agrees with the plasma concept- it recirculates somehow up through the blade, and only loses energy when it cuts something. I have also seen other references to Sith alchemical crystals that weren't red, suck as a blackish one that looks a lot like a blacklight and really hurts lightsiders. That would be cool!
Another synthetic Jedi example is the Solari crystal from KOTOR.
Oh, and a magnetic "bottle" like they are experimentinmg with now for controlled fusion would indeed contain a plasma, and could possibly interact /repel other magnetic fields and explain the fact that lightsabers can't cut through each other.
What do I know anyhow, I'm just an acolyte.
I have been thinking about this and with some encouragement from other DB'ers I am going to write a detailed article shortly.


03-03-2005 08:33:16

It's incorrect to say that a beam folded back on itself would automatically cancel itself out. In fact, lasers work exactly by folding the beam back multiple times before releasing it. A beam sent back on its own path can be made stronger or weaker depending on the wavelength. If the total length of the beam (before going back) is an exact multiple of half the wavelength, you will wind up with maximum amplification. If it is exactly 1/4 wavelength longer or shorter than that, you'll get complete darkness. In lasers, this principle is done to the extreme - the light is sent into a chamber of the right length with reflective surfaces at both ends (one of them partially transparent). It then gets to amplify itself multiple times (so-called constructive interference) before finally escaping through the partially transparent end, A lightsaber could use a similar principle, creating the outer reflective surface through some energy field. This field would also be responsible for the fact that two blades block each other.

A saber could theoretically also use plasma - contained in a magnetic field, plasma can indeed be shaped although the exact shape of a saber would be impossible to achieve with only one field generator (you'd need one at the tip too to get the right field properties).

The colors - any sufficiently strong light in the visible spectrum will appear white to the eye - the receptors in the eye all react to all colors, just to different extents. If you had only your red receptors remaining and the room were lit with a strong blue light, you'd still see something. It would just seem far darker than in an equal strength red light. Thus, a saber (which needs to use a single color light or just a few well-defined wavelengths to meet the "exact multiple of wavelength" criterion) can appear white in its brightest parts and then fade to a color in the darker areas. (BTW, a completely white saber is possible through a harmonic wavelength combination similar to your RGB monitor being able to show white areas.

So, in pure theory, a saber is thinkable. What is really difficult however is the setup of a field that is (a) able to deflect photons, (B) easily generated with a single emitting device. Right now I wouldn't know any such field generator except for a Black Hole :)