|The primary defensive arms carried by Starfleet
crewmembers 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. Type III phaser
rifles are also available for special situations,
although these are rarely necessary on normal Starfleet
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. LiCu 521 is an advanced version of the 518 crystal mass produced for the ship mounted Type X main phaser and exhibits a 3% improvement in thermodynamic efficiency at 92.65%.
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 10^6 megajoules per cubic centimeter for the Type I, 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 by 3.0 cm and holds 7.2 x 10^6 MJ: The Type II cell is hot-swappable in the field, measures 10.2 by 3.0 cm and holds 8.79 x 10^7 MJ. It is housed within a 45-degree curved grip for improved targeting and handling.
Downstream from the power cell are three interconnected control modules: the beam control assembly, safety interlock, and 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's 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 for distant aiming functions.
|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 the 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. Though 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 by 1.2 cm. In the Type II, it is a regular trapezoid 1.5 by 2.85 cm.
The Type III-a Compression Phaser rifle's distinguishing itself from it's predecessor are the twin hot swappable power cells, each holding 3.4 by 10^8 megajoules, and a split emitter resonator designed to tune and focus the outgoing beam.
The latest phaser rifle, Type III-b unit supports a hot swappable power cell with a total energy charge of 3.5 x 10^8 MJ, a field replaceable deuterium plasma generator, twelve-stage plasma accelerator, and five-stage cascading prefire chamber. At the terminus of the energy flow is the emitter crystal, also a lithium-copper superconductor like the prefire chamber. The plasma accelerator is critical to pumping the prefire chamber to the proper energy level for controllable nuclear disruption forces (NDF). Almost no classical thermal or other unwanted EM effects are present in the discharge beam. The superheated, rarefied plasma is exhausted past the emitter crystal in a focused stream. The plasma helps ensure that the crystal does not cool too quickly during firing.
The Type III-b also boasts a new seeker/tracker, possessing both passive and active EM and subspace detectors. Like other phaser types, the tracking processor is coupled by the STA to the onboard ship safety system to constrain the rifle to setting 3, unless authorized by senior officer command override.