Now that caption sounds far-fetched. The works of fertile imagination which ought to be confined to the dungeons of mythical science. Such only happens in movies. A case in point is the Star Wars universe.
Inspired by the aforesaid movie, students from the University of Leicester, have worked out a theory in an attempt to give credence to the star wars-esque laser deflecting shields.
The theory is built on hard scientific evidence as manifested by the student’s works being published in the “Journal of Physics Special Topics.”
The Conception of the Theory
Movies in the Science fiction genre have the liberty to portray novel technologies (if they are at all feasible) without the fear of being questioned. To break this status quo, a group of budding scientists at Leicester University questioned the rationale of the hallmark of spaceship shield defense mechanisms against enemies’ laser beams as depicted in the Star Wars movie.
It’s worth noting that the research findings on the laser deflector shields were, by design, published to coincide with the debut of the Star Wars Day 4.
Modus Operandi of the Laser Deflector Shields
The working theory of the laser deflector shields is based on calculations of electromagnetic waves of the incoming rays, as well as, the frequency of the protective barrier shield, which in this case would be made of plasma.
Plasma is a state of matter that is formed when you heat the gas to temperatures above 5,000 degrees Celcius (9,000 degree Fahrenheit), resulting in the formation of unbound charge particles referred to as ions. To achieve this heating state, gas is constantly subjected to a high-powered electromagnetic field.
The plasma is only considered effective if the frequency of the incoming beam is less or equal to the frequency of the plasma. Working from first principles, you will be in a position to work out the minimum plasma based field strength that would prove effective against the incoming laser beam.
Following this complex calculation derived in the “Shields Up! The Physics of Star Wars”, a terrestrial plasma frequency that doesn’t exceed 5T, will be adequate to shield against visible lasers as depicted in the star wars movies.
The icing on the cake of such a low terrestrial plasma field strength lays on the safety profile. It’s not detrimental to human health, and as such, the same principle is applied radio communications.
Exploring the “natural plasma of the atmosphere“: the ionosphere, to reflect the radio frequency over a stretched distance where satellite communications have failed. Akin to the use of mirror reflections to observe concealed images in a corner.
Shortcoming of a Laser Deflector Armored Shield
Just as depicted in Star Wars, laser shields would find its application in the battlefield. However, it would come at a cost. It will prove futile against traditional battle weaponry: the bullets.
The greatest pitfall as reported by the proponents of the laser reflecting shield theory is the high energy consumption required to generate the strong electromagnetic field and the limited visibility of the enemies’ front occasioned by the plasma based shield.
While the technology might be ready to be presented in the battlefield, the minimum plasma based shield frequency calculations gives an impression of a future game changer in the battlefield. Science fiction being translated into reality!