Difference between revisions of "Higgs-Nathan Reactor"
|Line 7:||Line 7:|
Plasma-induction technology, developed as part of the Higgs-Nathan principle, allowed certain systems to be powered
Plasma-induction technology, developed as part of the Higgs-Nathan principle, allowed certain systems to be powered , .
Latest revision as of 22:37, 20 March 2020
The Higgs-Nathan reactor is a device that combines matter and antimatter to produce high-energy plasma. This can then be directly captured and converted into electrical energy at a high rate, this producing a sizable amount of energy. If used aboard a starship, the plasma from the reactor can also be channeled directly into the engines.
Due to design limitations, the Higgs-Nathan design has no practical application. In any known circumstance, other, more conventional power sources are preferred.
The proposed function of the design was for deep space vessels; antimatter has the highest energy density of any substance possible, so a Higgs-Nathan reactor could, in principle, provide power for a considerable duration. The design is also much more compact comparatively, but this has traditionally never been a particularly large problem.
Plasma-induction technology, developed as part of the Higgs-Nathan principle, allowed certain systems to be powered by inducing current. While this only works for limited applications, it does allow for higher power-levels over all.
The Achilles heel of the Higgs-Nathan Reactor is it's fuel source: antimatter, which is expensive to produce and difficult to store. Since it is a necessary ignition source for Ion vacuum drives, most ships do carry a small supply and stations are equipped to produce more. However, since it requires more power to make than can be harvested from it, it is not useful as a power source.
The Collector works in concert with the reactor by harvesting naturally-occurring quantities of antimatter. Small ammounts can be mined from most planets, and large quantities available near gas giants and suns. HNCs, first built for the reactor project, would later become a standard feature beside Bussard Collectors.
Matter/Antimatter reactors were not remotely new, but as antimatter itself was difficult to contain and expensive to produce, there had not been any reasonable, large-scale application for the technology. Reactors of a similar design had been built at various laboratories for specialized experiments that called for high energy sources, but these were always one-offs with very limited usage.
During the Sixth Age, the Kamian Succession Wars called for all sorts of new innovations. A big challenge in producing adequite numbers of warships was the demand on super-conductors to power various starship systems. These required complex and exotic materials refined to very tight tolerences, and proved to the the largest bottleneck in the production chain. Meanwhile, building ducts to move plasma around the ship, was comparatively simple.
The scientists behind the Higgs-Nathan design originally conceived of using a centralized reactor which would then feed plasma to systems all over the ship, to be converted locally into electricity(such as at the shield generator), or used to power systems directly via induction(like at the warp coils). The concept is roughly analgous to the way surface navy ships would use steam fed from boilers for a variety of functions. Only one full-scale Higgs-Nathan reactor was ever put into service: G.S.S. Antikythera. The innovation came too late in the war to see mass production, but some of the design elements were put into use aboard civilian research ships after the war had ended. While postwar ships still used standard power generators for most purposes, they could fit a Higgs-Nathan Collector and induction-powered warm coils, providing significantly-increased endurance. Unfortunately, the technology never became affordable for widespread commercial application, and was largely forgotten during the Long Night.