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In Depth: Phasers

Phaser Theory and Phaser Power

When researching transporters, one subject out of every several thousand would rematerialize incorrectly, with certain segments of their structure nonexistent and defying analysis. The discovery that two classes of nadions exist provided an explanation. The common nadion that had been used before had a much more volatile cousin known as a "rapid" nadion because its period of subspace oscillation was much faster. This nadion accomplished its activities slightly different than its cousin, and at a much quicker rate. Eventually a method was discovered whereby to only produce traditional nadions in the phase transition coils, and the disruptions ceased. But rapid nadions were intriguing, and there was one application that they seemed suitable for weapons.

Rapid nadions had several interesting properties. First of all, all facets of their existence are tied directly into their energy state, specifically their speed of oscillation and propagation, as well as their lifetime. At low levels of energy, the nadion oscillations merely excite target atoms (after all, the unique conditions of the transporter beam are not met), resulting in ionization and electrical shock. At higher energy states, this excitement is great enough to produce heat, and to burn through targets. At higher states still, the atoms are actually subatomically broken down into quarks. About half of these quarks are transitioned into subspace, but the other half are converted into more nadions, continuing a chain reaction through the target. Because each generation of nadions has less energy than the previous one, the reaction eventually stops, usually when a heavier element is encountered.

Phaser is actually an acronym standing for PHASed Energy Rectification.

Target dependency: Even at high levels of energy, phasers affect targets differently depending upon their nuclear binding energy. A general rule of thumb is that the lower on the periodic table an element is, the more easily
it is affected.

Density: Phaser chain reactions can generally not propagate through gasses, because the molecules are thinly dispersed and highly mobile. Likewise, liquid is only moderately effected.

Speed: At high energy states, in excess of 10 MW, rapid nadions travel at speeds significantly near c. At lower energy states they travel much slower.

Energy loss: Rapid nadions lose energy rapidly in the form of photons, which we see as light. As the particles lose energy, they lose speed and effectiveness. Because of this, even the highest powered phasers only have an effective range of around 300,000 kilometers. The energy loss follows the standard exponential decay curve (similar to the curve of nuclear decay).

Phaser Disintegrations: When a phaser is set on a high enough setting, a person will disintegrate. The phasercauses a cascading subspace disruption. The matter is converted to neutrinos, verterons, and limited nadions. That matter eventually ends up in subspace and possibly returns to normal space in a logarithmic fashion. Surrounding matter such as a piece of furniture or the ground is scared, often in black, from the result of the nearby matter's disintegration. The particles must have mass because phaser beams are known to propagate at distinctly sublight speeds in certain situations (particularly hand phaser beams), and they appear to be very short-lived and can't propagate through gases, or across the gaps between a victim's shoes and the ground.

Energy ratings: TNG Technical Manual, "Individual emitter segments are capable of directing 5.1 Megawatts. By comparison, the small personal hand Phasers issued to Starfleet crewmembers are Type I and II, the latter being limited to 0.01MW." Several are fired at once to increase the power. The typical phaser is typically 1.28 GW.

Some say that the ventral phaser cannon (a.k.a. BF's Type XX Fixed Focus bank cannon "Borg Buster" or that E-D refit cannon in TNG "All Good Things...") is two powerful. My estimate is that the cannon has a power rating of 20.0 GW. That is a little over my calculations for two photon torpedoes, but keep in mind that it is a very tight beam. The tightness of the beam makes the power density (Power/Area) much greater and deadly.

The torpedoes hit the target in less time. 

Phaser power=1.28 GW (as stated before)
Photon Torpedo Energy= (Antimatter + Deuterium) ? c^2 [E=mc?]
        = (1.5 kg + 1.5 kg) ? (299792458 m/s)^2
Photon Torpedo power = Torpedo energy/ time energy is transferred
        = 269.6 EJ (exojoules 269.6?10^15)/ .100 s | time =
..1 seconds (sounds reasonable and makes the numbers easy.)
        = 2,696 EW

That's a lot more power than a phaser. However, it is directed in a spherical direction and not all of it hits the target and what does is spread out. Plus that number assumes 100% efficiency.

How does all this effect the ventral phaser cannon? It shows that the energy requirements in generating the phaser are not prohibitive. But nor are they encouraging. To get that type of power density a great deal of energy would be required to run the equipment and even more since it is inefficient. I haven't yet mentioned the energy loss of phasers over distance either.

But that still leave the fact that it could be a "wonder weapon." That can be dismissed due to the energy consumption again. The amount of energy needed to fire the weapon is tremendous and it's all needed in a short time. The ship would incur a mild-major power drain, depending on it's design. That would leave shield recharge rates low, all standard phasers would be less powerful, and the cannon would be useless for a brief to moderate time, again depending on ship design.