A Particle Accelerator or Particle Beam Cannon is a device for accelerating protons, electrons, neutrons, or atoms to speeds approaching the speed of light. As weapons, the impact of these accelerated particles produces explosions and radiation damage in the target.
The particle accelerator has been made into a very effective weapon. While some use gravitic acceleration mechanisms, most use powerful electrical and/or magnetic fields to accelerate ions or charged subatomic particles. The same fields that accelerate the particles are used to focus them into concentrated beams, able to attack distant targets.
History & Background (Dossier)
The earliest particle accelerators were research devices rather than weapons. Particle accelerators, as research devices, existed for many decades before the technology was weaponized.
The generic term for any kind of weaponized particle accelerator is a particle accelerator weapon (PAWs). Hits from these particle accelerator weapons (PAWs) produce surface and radiation damage.
There are three br0ad classifications of particle accelerators, two that are weapons and one kind used for research.
Charged particle accelerator weapons (C-PAWs) fire charged particles. These propagate well through atmosphere (behaving like an electrical current flowing in one direction), but scatter in vacuum, due to electromagnetic repulsion.
C-PAWs are the ground weapons.
Neutral particle accelerator weapons (N-PAWs) fire charged particles through a device (foil screen, gas filter, or high-power laser) which strips off an electron or adds a proton. The resultant beam is neutrally charged. These beams break up rapidly in atmosphere, but perform flawlessly in space.
Other versions of the N-PAWs use a magnetic field to accelerate uncharged neutrons to relativistic velocities. These weapons have similar operational characteristics.
N-PAWs are the space weapons.
Research particle accelerator devices (R-PADs) are generally curved, while military PAWs are generally straight.
This allows military designs to be less-complicated and more able to withstand battle damage.
Antimatter particle accelerator weapons (A-PAWs) fire antimatter particles, generally neutral charged anti-neutrons, at the target. Antimatter has an explosive effect when encountering normal matter. This limits A-PAWs to space weapons. A-PAWs are considered experimental weapons at TL–15 and consume huge quantities of power in operation.
References & Contributors (Sources)
- Marc Miller, Frank Chadwick, John Harshman. High Guard (Game Designers Workshop, 1980), 18.
- Loren Wiseman. "Charged Particle Accelerator Weapons." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 13 (1982): 6-8.
- Loren Wiseman. "Spinal Mount's revisited." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 20 (1984): 40-45.
- Herb Petro. "Circular meson and particle accelerators." Imperium Staple 05 (1986): 11-13.
- Frank Chadwick, Dave Nilsen. Fire, Fusion, & Steel (Game Designers Workshop, 1994), 112-115.
- Don Perrin. Starships (Imperium Games, 1996), 72.
- David Golden, Guy Garnett. Fire, Fusion & Steel (Imperium Games, 1997), 52-54.
- Traveller Wiki Editorial Team
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science