The primary defensive arms carried by Starfleet crew members are two types of small phasers, Type I and Type II. Both are high-energy devices sized for personal use and can be stowed in or attached to one's uniform. As with the larger ship-mounted arrays, the Type I and II phasers convert stored energy into tightly controllable beams for a variety of applications.
Phasers operate on a modified version of the rapid nadion effect. Rapid nadions produce a pulsed protonic charge in the heart of the device, a stabilized LiCu 521 superconducting crystal (lattice formula Li<>Cu><Si::Fe<:>0). LiCu 521 is an advanced version of the 518 crystal mass-produced for the ship's Type X Main Phaser and exhibits a 3% improvement in thermodynamic efficiency at 92.65%.
Hardware Arrangement and Operation
Most features of personal phaser internal configuration are common to Type I and Type II. Energy is stored within a replenishable sarium krellide cell. Sarium krellide holds a maximum of 1.3 x 106 megajoules per cubic centimeter, at a maximum leak rate of no more than 1.05 kilojoules per hour. When one considers that the total stored energy of even the Type I phaser, if released all at once, is enough to vaporize three cubic meters of tritanium, it is reassuring to know that a full storage cell cannot be discharged accidentally. Sarium krellide must be coupled with the LiCu 521 crystal for discharge to occur.
Cell charging can be accomplished aboard ship through standard power taps of the electro plasma system, and in the field through portable bulk sarium krellide units. The Type I cell measures 2.4 x 3.0 cm and holds 7.2 x 106 MJ; the Type II cell measures 10.2 x 3.0 cm and holds 4.5 x 107 MJ.
Downstream from the power cell are three interconnected control modules:
- The beam control assembly
- Safety interlock
- subspace transceiver assembly (STA)
The beam control assembly includes tactile interface buttons for configuring the phaser beam width and intensity, and a firing trigger. The safety interlock is a code processor for safing the power functions of the phaser and for personalizing a phaser for limited personnel use. Key-press combinations of beam width and intensity controls are used to configure the phaser's safety condition.
The STA is used as part of the safety system while aboard Starfleet vessels. It maintains contact between the phaser and the ship computers to assure that power levels are automatically restrained during shipboard firings, usually limited to heavy stun. Emergency override commands may be keyed in by the beam controls.
The STA adapted for phaser use is augmented with target sensors and processors Energy from the power cell is controlled by all three modules and routed by shielded conduits to a prefire chamber, a 1.5 cm diameter sphere of LiCu 521 reinforced with gulium arkenide. Here the energy is held temporarily by a collapsible charge barrier before passing to the actual LiCu 521 emitter for discharge out of the phaser, creating a pulse.
As with the larger phaser types, the power level set by the user determines the pulse frequency and relative proportion of protonic charge created in the final emitter stage. The Type I contains a single prefire chamber; the Type II contains four.
At triggering, the charge barrier field breaks down in 0.02 picoseconds. Through the rapid nadion effect the LiCu 521 segmented emitter converts the pumped energy into a tuned phaser discharge. As with the ship's main phasers, the greater the energy pumped from the prefire chamber, the higher will be the percentage of nuclear disruption force (NDF) created.
At low to moderate settings, the nuclear disruption threshold will not be crossed, limiting the phaser discharge to stun and thermal impact resulting from simple electromagnetic (SEM) effects. At the higher settings, as an override precaution for the user, the discharge will take a distance of approximately one meter to decay and recombine to form full-lethality emissions. In the Type I, the emitter crystal is an elliptical solid measuring 0.5 x 1.2 cm. In the Type II, it is a regular trapezoid 1.5 x 2.85 cm.