Device for accelerating protons, electrons, neutrons, or atoms to speeds approaching the speed of light, creating a measurable increase in its mass.
While some use gravitic acceleration mechanisms, most use powerful electrical and/or magnetic fields to accelerate ions or charged subatomic particles.
The particle accelerator has been made into a very effective weapon.
The same fields that accelerate the particles are used to focus them into concentrated beams, able to attack distant targets.
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 braad 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.
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.
References and Contributors
- Marc Miller, Frank Chadwick, John Harshman. High Guard (Game Designers Workshop, 1980), .
- John Harshman, Marc Miller, Loren Wiseman. Library Data (N-Z) (Game Designers Workshop, 1982), .
- Frank Chadwick, Dave Nilsen. Fire, Fusion, & Steel (Game Designers Workshop, 1994), .