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.