This is a harmless toy “weapon” that uses an ionizing sheath to contain a bright beam of light. It is mostly intended as a technological step up from dueling with plastic glowing sabers, and can't normally inflict any actual damage; it merely makes a crackling sound when the ionizing sheath is obstructed by an object, which tingles just a bit.
Another interesting use for a lightblade is that some technogeeks use them as door keys or triggers - when a specific wavelength of intense light touches a sensor, it triggers an action such as opening the door. Lightblades can be made with a variable-wavelength circuit for this purpose or to create interesting colors.
This takes the basic concept of the electrolaser, and the ionizing sheath of a lightblade, and combines them into a form that delivers an electric shock on impact. Most 'safe' versions of the electroblade only deliver a mild electric shock on impact - not enough to cause real harm but enough that the target knows they've been struck.
More powerful electroblades are designed for use as actual melee weapons by increasing the power of the electrolaser and the battery capacity. In this mode, the electrolaser that fires when the ionizing sheath is broken inflicts painful levels of harm without permanent damage, making it into a stun rod of sorts; these are commonly used in agricultural and security applications. Typically, this includes a variable control mechanism so you can choose what intensity it zaps with.
This is another common variant found in the hands of duelists and children; it uses a perfectly safe holographic projection of a blade rather than an actual containment sheath, and can detect when it has 'struck' a person as opposed to an object, usually lighting up a different color on impacts with each. This makes it a very effective training tool without causing significant harm to the users.
This uses an intense sonic burst to rip away at the molecular structure of an object in close range; this makes it useful in the food preparation, construction and logging industries, although users are recommended to wear hearing protection when in use. A low-powered lightblade provides a visual guide for where the cut is to be made, as well as the blade's current length and intensity.
This channels a controlled electromagnetic pulse down the path of the ionized blade, allowing it to turn EMPulse technology into a melee format ideal for neutralizing computerized machinery. It is also sometimes used for law enforcement, as EM pulses disrupt the target's nervous system and cause extreme pain or incapacitation; some departments use them instead of or in partnership with electrolaser lightblades.
The true 'light saber', a laser blade is effectively nothing more than a beam emitter at one end, an energy collector at the other end, and a space between where a high-powered cutting laser travels. Industrial cutting lasers are nothing new, and the combat equivalent is no less impressive. Some designs include a physical blade (motorized or not) behind the laser blade, for additional damage.
This uses a more powerful ionizing channel and sheath - both mostly for show, as it generates its cutting effect by essentially disrupting the forces that bind atoms together through intensely focused gravitational force technology. This effectively allows it to melt its way through objects without causing heat loss or other damage outside of its area of effect. The effect can be very precise, and often finds use in industrial applications where a laser cutter is insufficient and a plasma cutter is not desirable.
This is the least subtle of weapons; a powerful ionized 'blade' that contains hydrogen plasma, and can melt through nearly anything. It consumes a lot of power, both to generate the plasma and the 'sheath' that keeps convection from broiling the user to death when the weapon actually hits something. Plasma cutters are often used in mining and repair applications to quickly cut through materials.
Technically, this is a force blade that replaces graviton disruption effects with the strength of a user's psionic potential. It shows up only in worlds where this, or magic, or some other 'inner power' is a measurable phenomenon.
The common chainsaw has been a tool of industry and horror movies for centuries, and while fancy energy weapons may be all the rage, a mechanical cutting instrument is still more energy-efficient. Mechanized blades add additional damage per second while the power is on, and can gradually cut through damage resistance when held against a target. They are typically rated based on the maximum armor rating they can be expected to cut through.
This fancily named blade, when powered, is designed to vibrate at a specific resonant frequency which can be changed manually before use or updated automatically as the blade attempts to cut into the target material. The blade effectively attempts to shake apart the molecular structure of the target, causing greater damage and reducing the ability of armor to resist it. When properly attuned, it can effectively ignore Hardened armor bonuses.
This deadly sharp blade has an edge that is only a few molecules thick, making it absurdly good at cutting and piercing. Combine that with the aforementioned options and you have a very destructive close-combat weapon in hand.
This blade is absurdly sharp, capable of cutting on a molecular level. However, even with the best materials, this blade needs frequent maintenance as with all nano-tools to stay in top condition.