Particle beam weapon

Particle beam weapon

A particle beam weapon uses an ultra high energy beam of atoms or electrons (i.e., a particle beam) to damage a material target by hitting it, and thus disrupting its atomic and molecular structure. A particle beam weapon is a type of directed-energy weapon which directs energy in a particular direction by a means of particle projectiles with mass. Some of these weapons are real or practicable; some are science fiction.

An electron particle beam weapon works by disrupting electric circuits and electronic devices in its targets. If any living animals or persons were to be caught by the electric discharge of an electron beam weapon, they would most likely be electrocuted. An electron beam weapon can also damage or melt its target by the electrical resistance heating of the target.

Beam generation

A neutral particle beam weapon ionizes hydrogen gas by either stripping an electron off of each hydrogen atom, or by allowing each hydrogen atom to capture an extra electron. When hydrogen gains electrons it forms anions; when hydrogen atoms lose electrons they form cations. A particle beam weapon that accelerates anions uses a traveling wave type particle accelerator. In this kind of ion accelerator, the negative ions are released inside a cylindrical ion acceleration chamber. This chamber has an electrode with an alternating electric charge of up to 1,000,000,000 (10^9) volts inside it. This is a theoretical weapon.

These stages happen:-

  1. While the charge on the electrode is positive, the ions are attracted to the negative charge on the electrode, and thus bunched around it.
  2. The alternating voltage switches the charge to negative on the accelerating electrode.
  3. The negative charge electrostatically repels the negative ions and accelerates them to near the velocity of light.
  4. The resulting high energy beam of anions passes through a chamber filled with low pressure gas.
  5. There, collisions with the gas strip the extra electrons from the anions, and thus make the particle beam neutral.
  6. The particle beam proceeds straight to its target, and damages it by running into it, and by disrupting the structure of the target with its kinetic energy.

Cyclotron particle accelerators, linear particle accelerators, and synchroton particle acclerators can accelerate positively charged hydrogen ions until their velocity approaches the speed of light, and each individual ion has a kinetic energy range of 100 MeV to 1000 MeV or more. Then the resulting high energy protons can capture electrons from electron emitter electrodes, and be thus electrically neutralized. This creates an electrically neutral beam of high energy hydrogen atoms, that can proceed straight line at near the velocity of light to zap its target and thus damage it. The pulsed particle beam emitted by a particle beam weapon may contain up to 1 gigajoule of kinetic energy or more. The speed of a beam approaching the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) in combination with the energy created by the weapon would negate any realistic means of defending a target against the beam. Target hardening through shielding or materials selection would be impractical or ineffective , especially if the beam can be generated successfully and pointed at the target.



Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943) was a noted inventor, scientist and electrical engineer. He invented Tesla coils, transformers, alternating current electric generators and was a major early pioneer of radio technology. He was also noted for making some remarkable claims, among them that he had developed what he called a "teleforce" weapon The press called it a "peace ray" or death ray.

In total, the components and methods included :

  1. An apparatus for producing manifestations of energy in free air instead of in a high vacuum as in the past. This, according to Tesla in 1934, was accomplished.
  2. A mechanism for generating tremendous electrical force. This, according to Tesla, was also accomplished.
  3. A means of intensifying and amplifying the force developed by the second mechanism.
  4. A new method for producing a tremendous electrical repelling force. This would be the projector, or gun, of the invention.

In 1937, Tesla composed a treatise entitled "The Art of Projecting Concentrated Non-dispersive Energy through the Natural Media". This treatise is currently in the Nikola Tesla Museum archive in Belgrade. It described an open ended vacuum tube with a gas jet seal that allowed particles to exit, a method of charging particles to millions of volts, and a method of creating and directing non-dispersive particle streams (through electrostatic repulsion).

Tesla worked on plans for a directed-energy weapon between the early 1900s till the time of his death. Records of his device indicate that it was based on a narrow stream of atomic clusters of liquid mercury or tungsten accelerated via high voltage (by means akin to his magnifying transformer). Tesla gave the following description concerning the particle gun's operation:

[The nozzle would] "send concentrated beams of particles through the free air, of such tremendous energy that they will bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles from a defending nation's border and will cause armies to drop dead in their tracks".
The weapon could be used against ground based infantry or for anti-aircraft purposes. Tesla tried to interest the US War Department in the device. He also offered this invention to European countries. None of the governments purchased a contract to build the device.

Various theories persist regarding the nature of this device and the whereabouts of Tesla's complete schematics for it. Immediately after his death, his effects were confiscated and the room's safe opened. The FBI never found the schematics nor any prototype. The so-called "peace ray" constitutes a part of some conspiracy theories as a means of destruction.

Modern experiments

Several modern experimental particle beam weapons were tested at scientific laboratories such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico by both the United States and the USSR from the 1950s to the 1980s.

The U.S. Defense Strategic Defense Initiative Organization put into development the technology of a neutral particle beam for strategic defense applications. In mid 1989, it was to be part of the Beam Experiments Aboard a Rocket (BEAR) in New Mexico.

The Medusa particle beam weapon is powered by any standard diesel of the type found in an Army Hummer and/or a ground based diesel generator. It’s currently in beta with the first major prototype slated for testing towards the end of this year.

See also


External articles and references


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