Hardlight, also called Photonic Matter or colloquially referred to as Phaselace is an assembly of photons which are trapped in a nonlinear medium. Most often, hardlight is produced by shooting numerous weak beams of photons through dense rubidium gas near absolute zero. With time and heavy levels of energy and resources, hardlight may be produced at a practical rate, which allows for military and everyday use. Hardlight is prohibitively expensive for consumer use as of the present year.
After hardlight is made, it is shown to hold extreme properties. With the correct procedures, hardlight may be formed into "solid" objects which have a thickness equal to the wavelength of the light. While incredibly thin, usually on the order of several hundred nanometers, hardlight is not brittle in the slightest. It is shown to have numerous defensive capabilities, withstand temperature extremes, and absorb blunt force without breaking. Hardlight may not necessarily be solid. Hardlight may be used for soft, liquid, gaseous, or any other tangible materials. While some are more expensive to others to make, they can still be forged in any consistency of matter. Research into making hardlight into a non-Newtonian fluid is ongoing.
With usage in numerous militaries, hardlight has been noted to be one of the sharpest, toughest, and hardest materials if procured properly. It has made the idea of close quarter melee combat much more relevant since its creation. Hardlight may also be used for personal defense, in the form of shields or armor. Spacecraft, especially those of high value, may also have hardlight components which are able to defend parts of craft. Buildings, constructs, and other engineering works may also utilize hardlight as a support structure, or as protection.
Hardlight has held many appearances in history, with many appearances of hardlight occurring in warfare. Widely used since the War of the Final Transition, hardlight has since expanded from a novelty to a casual weapon of war. Most uses were documented in the Commonwealth's Eclipse with other widespread use being seen in following major wars. Currently, Eidolite is slightly more valued over hardlight for advanced military applications. Even so, its difficulty of production still makes hardlight the most popular technology for defense and close quarters combat.