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  • General term covering nadion-based particle beam weaponry
    • Most well-associated with the Federation, but also independently developed by the Ferengi and Bajor
    • Mid-22nd century, known as either phase pistols (handheld variants) or phase cannons (starship-mounted variants) (ENT)
    • By late-22nd century, known colloquially as phasers (or occasionally lasers) (ENT Novel: Live By the Code; TOS: "The Cage")
  • Projects beam of rapid pulses of phased nadions at particular frequencies (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")
    • Allowable frequency range for a given device determined by calibration of collimation lens (DIS Novel: Desperate Hours)
    • Frequency of pulses determines color of beam (TNG: "Best of Both Worlds, Part I")
    • Following first-contact with the Borg, Starfleet hand phasers upgraded to provide in-built random variation of settings and frequencies within the specifications of a given unit (SCE Short Story: "Cold Fusion")
  • Shipboard phaser weapons, as with most energy-based weapons, can only fire at warp between vessels upon synchronization of warp fields (TNG Novel: The Buried Age)
  • Beam effect ranges from light stun to heat to fatal nervous disruption to full disintegration
    • Specifics of mechanism
      • Stun
        • Term for lowest phaser beam levels in Federation implementation
          • Phaser level 1 through 3, also commonly known as light stun, medium stun, and heavy stun (TNG Technical Manual)
          • Also used as a generic term for the equivalent effect in other implementations, phaser-based or not
        • Overloads a target's central and peripheral nervous system with hyperstimulus, shocking the brain by triggering the entire nervous system at once (SCE Short Story: "Fatal Error", "Cold Fusion")
        • Light stun limited to a dazing effect, disabling a target for a few minutes but leaving them conscious (TOS: "The Man Trap")
        • Higher levels overload the nervous system to the point of unconsciousness (SCE Short Story: "Cold Fusion")
          • Repeated use of light stun can result in the same effect (SCE Short Story: "Fatal Error")
          • On average human, target is disabled for approximately 15 minutes at medium stun, approximately one hour at heavy stun (TNG Technical Manual)
            • Time can vary widely by species, particular biochemistry
          • Repeated usage of heavy stun against a single target can lead to nervous system damage, possibly death (TNG: "Samaritan Snare")
      • Kill
        • Known as "force 3" c.23rd century (TOS: "Operation: Annihilate!")
      • Disintegrate
        • c.24th century, uppermost settings, up to level 16 (TNG Technical Manual; TNG Novel: Vendetta)
          • Only available on type-2 hand devices
          • At maximum power, capable of destroying a 100m span of metamorphic rock (TNG Novel: Vendetta)
            • Sustained blast forces shutdown for 6 seconds to prevent overload (TNG Novel: Vendetta)
            • Fully charged type-2 phaser capable of 10 shots before nearly depleting power cell (TNG Novel: Vendetta)
  • Hand weapons powered by sarium krellide cells (ENT: "The Andorian Incident"; TNG: "In Theory")
    • Generates constant, detectable EM field while powered, even when not in use (DS9 Novel: Mission Gamma: Cathedral)
    • General landing party protocol to carry one extra fully-charged cell in gear (DIS Novel: Desperate Hours)
  • Shipboard weapons involve multiple prefire chambers injecting nadion energy in sequence before emitting phaser beam (VOY Novel: Mosaic)
    • If not charged in proper sequence, can lead to backfire, explosion (VOY Novel: Mosaic)
  • Phaser technology also applied to certain non-offensive areas
    • Industrial drilling (SCE Short Story: "Ambush")
    • Metal machining (SCE Short Story: "Ambush")


  • c.2240s: Development concludes on type-nine phaser banks
    • This build was an experimentation with pulse phaser banks
    • Starfleet standard by mid-2250s (DIS)
  • c.2250s: Development concludes on type-ten phaser banks; they are soon installed on Starfleet vessels, with the Constitution-class fleet the first to be upgraded
    • This build was a reversion to beam-style phasers (DIS Novel: Desperate Hours)
    • Large jump in power over type-nine (DIS Novel: Desperate Hours)
    • Starfleet standard by late-2260s (TOS)
  • c.2300: Starfleet model hand phaser upgraded (DS9 Novel: Demons of Air and Darkness)
    • Among changes in new model were removal of design flaw preventing weapon discharge in ambient radiation above 500 rads (DS9 Novel: Demons of Air and Darkness)
  • c.early 2374: Regenerative phaser technology developed, allowing for functioning within environments that would otherwise suppress phaser functioning (DS9: "Field of Fire"; DS9 Novel: Mission Gamma: Lesser Evil)

Related Devices

Rapid-frequency nadion-pulse cannon

  • High-power planetary defense installation (TNG Novel: A Time to Kill)
    • Fires packets consisting of millions of individual nadion pulses at distinct nutations (TNG Novel: A Time to Kill)
      • Rapid cycling, coupled with high power level, harmonizes with deflector shields, resulting in shield emitter overload (TNG Novel: A Time to Kill)
  • Initial prototypes proposed, developed 2366 as anti-Borg weapon (TNG Novel: A Time to Kill)
    • Deemed too complex for widespread deployment (TNG Novel: A Time to Kill)
    • Deployed in second test implementation c.2372 on Tezwa in preparation for potential defense against Klingon Empire following abrogation of Khitomer Accords by Chancellor Gowron (TNG Novel: A Time to Kill)