If you are interested in this topic, start with a great piece from the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/03/03/a-star-in-a-bottle.
The article’s title is twice as catchy, and an order of magnitude more satisfying. No time? Here’s a video: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/video-how-to-put-a-star-into-a-bottle.
You’ll have a lot more context for the December update that seems to have prompted the writing of this Medium article.