I'm attempting to make a device in my book seem somewhat plausible. There are two cases. The first is that on contact and being triggered it will disintegrate the thing it is touching (let's say a flashlight), but not the things the flashlight might be touching.

In another case, it might be fired as a beam and should disintegrate everything in its path until some sort of fall off makes it die out.

Further, it would be great if there was a way to add something that could make stuff explode. Meaning, if I could stab this device into a cave wall and get it to rip a 50-foot tunnel into the wall and send the rock flying outward.

The exploding bit could be accomplished by a different weapon so this is less important than being able to disintegrate a single material and not everything it touches.

I've thought about some kind of oscillator or tightly controlled fisson for disintegration but both have their problems from what I've read so far.

In this world, nanotech and molecular assemblers exist.

| improve this question | | | | |
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There's a big difference between 'disintegrate' and 'quickly disintegrate.' If, since nanotech exists, you made a grey-goo type device, you could disintegrate all of a particular material before sending a self-destruct command to the swarm. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 12 '18 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ When you say "molecular assemblers", what does that entail? $\endgroup$ – Chris M. Feb 12 '18 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ We need to make some clarification and compromise on the difference between "part of" and "touching". In case of the flashlight, is the battery inside the flashlight part of it, or "just touching"? How about the strap that attached to it? If the flashlight is made of Lego blocks, would the weapon eliminate all the blocks, or just one? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 12 '18 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ Reality check tag is for situations when you already have general idea and you need it verified. This is not the case. Also, this tag should never be the only one on the question. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 12 '18 at 22:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this as 'opinion-based.' The question seems to boil down to 'how do I disintegrate things' without any sorts of limitations of how it might be accomplished. In that case, I suggest the answer is to cast the spell 'Disintegrate.' If that isn't the answer you want, you need more specifics to narrow down possible answers. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 12 '18 at 23:20

Add programmable matter to your technology list. That is reasonable enough with nanotech and molecular assemblers already there.

Your device then simply opens a communications link with the object "nanoweb", authenticates itself with high enough credentials or just exploits a vulnerability, and commands the nanites in the object to either dissolve its structure or force them to self-destruct thus releasing significant amount of energy while also disintegrating the object. That would look like a low intensity explosion but would almost have to rely on bugs on whatever OS the nanites run on as that is probably high on the list of things you do not want your nanites to do.

| improve this answer | | | | |
  • $\begingroup$ Love this. Thanks for taking the time. $\endgroup$ – Jed Grant Feb 14 '18 at 1:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.