- "This was the formal weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. More skill than simple sight was required for its use. An elegant weapon. It was a symbol as well. Anyone can use a blaster or a fusioncutter—but to use a lightsaber well was a mark of someone a cut above the ordinary."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]
Designed as much for elegance in combat as for ceremony, the lightsaber, also referred to as the "laser sword" by those who were unfamiliar with it, was a distinctive weapon, the very image of which was inextricably bound with the mythos of the Jedi Order and their polar opposites, the Sith. The lightsaber also became synonymous with the Jedi Order's values to uphold peace and justice throughout the galaxy. This perception endured, despite the many conflicts with lightsaber-wielding Sith and Dark Jedi.
The weapon consisted of a blade of pure plasma emitted from the hilt and suspended in a force containment field. The field contained the immense heat of the plasma, protecting the wielder, and allowed the blade to keep its shape. The hilt was almost always self-fabricated by the wielder to match his or her specific needs, preferences and style. The hilt was also built similarly to his or her master's lightsaber as a mark of respect. Due to the weightlessness of plasma and the strong gyroscopic effect generated by it, lightsabers required a great deal of strength and dexterity to wield, and it was extremely difficult—and dangerous—for the untrained to attempt using. However, in the hands of an expert of the Force, the lightsaber was a weapon to be greatly respected and feared. To wield a lightsaber was to demonstrate incredible skill and confidence, as well as masterful dexterity and attunement to the Force.
Mechanics and specifications Edit
- "Tell me…how does it work?"
"On the same principle as my whip…when you activate that stud on the hilt, it releases a beam of coherent energy which forms the sword blade.'"
- "The components are fairly simple. Every lightsaber has a standard power source, the same type used in small blasters, even in glowpanels. They last a long time, though, because Jedi should rarely use their lightsabers. […] One of the other crucial pieces is a focusing crystal. The most powerful and sought-after gems are rare Kaiburr crystals. However, though lightsabers are powerful weapons, their design is so flexible that practically any kind of crystal can be used.'"
- ―Luke Skywalker, to his students[src]
The typical lightsaber hilt consisted of a metal cylinder between twenty-four and thirty centimeters in length. However, the size of individuals hilts varied drastically, as the weapon was tailored to the creator's specific needs and preferences. The hilt had a pommel cap at the bottom which sometimes held a backup power cell. The lightsaber mechanisms were contained within the hilt. High levels of energy generated by a high-output Diatium power cell was unleashed through a series of focusing lenses and energizers that converted the energy into plasma. The plasma was projected through a set of lightsaber crystals that lent the blade its properties and allowed for the adjustment of blade length and power output. The ideal number of crystals was three, though only one was required. A power insulator was installed on the hilt to protect the wielder from any energy discharges. Activating the lightsaber usually required a button of some sort. A blade power adjustment knob was sometimes installed to allow the wielder to vary the power of the blade. A discharge energy cell could also be installed to increase a lightsaber's power output.
Once focused by the crystals, the plasma was sent through a series of field energizers and modulation circuitry within the emitter matrix that further focused it, making it into a coherent beam of energy that was projected from the blade emitter. The blade typically extended about a meter before being arced by the blade containment field back to a negatively charged fissure ringing the emitter, where it was channeled back to the power cell by a superconductor, completing the circuit.
Cutting power Edit
- "By the Force! I thought a lightsaber could cut through anything. The walls are barely scratched. The only thing that can resist a lightsaber is… Mandalorian iron!"
- ―Exar Kun, regarding Freedon Nadd's tomb — Listen (file info)[src]
A lightsaber blade was a mass-less form that neither radiated heat nor expended energy until it came into contact with something solid. The power of the energy blade was so great that it could cut through almost anything, although the speed through which it cut depended on the density of the subject. One important note about lightsaber wounds is that they rarely bled profusely, even when a limb had been severed. This is because the energy blade cauterized the wound as it passed, and thus even a severe wound did not tend to bleed heavily.