|Lightsabers were first developed by the Jedi in an attempt to turn traditional ceremonial swords of the order into more powerful weapons using advanced technology of the age. The first models were successful in "freezing" a laser beam, by focusing a beam of energy circumferentially back to the source. They were, however, highly unstable, using astonishing amounts of power which caused them to overheat after a few minutes, and were seldom used. Over time, these faults were corrected in the form of protosabers. While protosabers were combat-capable, they required wielders to carry heavy belt-mounted power packs to meet the weapon's high energy requirement. To add insult to injury, the cable connecting the power source to the hilt of the sabre also restricted manoeuvrability, further limiting the weapon's capabilities.|
It was the Sith Empire that provided the next major genesis by introducing an integrated power cell that transformed the cumbersome protosaber into an efficient, graceful and powerful weapon: the modern lightsaber. The lightsaber revolutionized Force users' combat strategies through the use of Force-powered attacks and telekinetic control. Following its success with the Sith, the design was quickly adopted throughout the Jedi Order and the majority of protosabers were upgraded with the new technology. The lightsaber soon became a weapon of both respect and fear, and an icon to the galaxy.
A typical lightsaber consists of a power cell, at least one crystal, multiple focusing lenses, and blade emitter all contained within a hilt customized to the owner's grip and style. The colour, length, and quality of the blade are determined by the combination of these materials. Due to the unique nature of each lightsaber, lightsaber construction can often take months while the necessary gems and parts are gathered to cater to its user's needs. Although design variations exist, the single bladed lightsaber is by far the most pervasive and easiest to construct, and the majority of lightsaber users have adopted this iconic style.
Focus, control and strength are required to wield a lightsaber; the weightless plasma contained within the lightsaber generates a gyroscopic effect, making the blade difficult to control. In unskilled hands the lightsaber poses a deadly threat to everything in its vicinity, including the wielder, as it is capable of cutting through the vast majority of objects with ease. While not exclusive to Force users, the lightsaber's difficulty of use and construction make it a rare sight outside of the Jedi and Sith orders.