Device for accelerating a particle of matter 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. Hits from these particle accelerator weapons (PAWs) produce surface and radiation damage.
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 magnetic replusion).
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.
Thus, N-PAWs are the space weapons, and C-PAWs are the ground weapons.
Research PAWs are generally curved, while military PAWs are generally straight. This allows military designs to be less complicated and more able to withstand battle damage.
(BOOK-5, 1107; TNE-FFS, 1201)
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