Ranged plasma weapons can't work effectively, due to certain issues, so I want to replace them with their closest relatives, Neutral Particle-Beam Weapons (hereby referred to as NPBW)

There would be issues with the concept of building this "Teleforce copycat" most of them are fixed, except for one:

There is a problem with this calculation, however, since (as explained here), the power from a particle beam is not deposited directly at the point of contact with the target as occurs with a laser. Instead, the beam is scattered and a large portion of the energy is deposited in a cone behind the target. Somewhat counter intuitively 'cough'anti-armor'cough', the more powerful the beam, the more energy is scattered away to places behind the point of contact with the target.

Source: http://www.moreisdifferent.com/2015/01/13/is-teslas-particle-beam-weapon-practical/

How can I ensure that the particle beam weapon disperses most of its energy into the target, if the target is a relatively thin (e.g: a human) object?

This is the problem I need help with. And to make sure that the solution would be compatible with the concept, I leave all the information about the weapon here:

Project: Teleforce

Type: Handheld rifle

Proposed Powersource: Diamond batteries [A 10 mm × 10 mm × 0.5 mm sample produced a constant power output of 4.4 kWh for 5000 years. Neat.]


  • "Devil's Spongebob", tiny particle-accelerators placed parallel to each other.
  • The charged particles are neutralized before passing through the window.
  • Vacuum inside the weapon is maintained by a plasma window (holds up to 9 atmospheres of pressure difference)

At its full potential, the new "accelerator on a chip" could match the accelerating power of SLAC's 2-mile-long linear accelerator in just 100 feet, and deliver a million more electron pulses per second.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2013-09-chip.html#jCp

Accelerated material: I don't know which one would be better/possible: mercury-; nitrogen-; or iron nuclei.

Diameter of the generated beam: 3 cm.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just a note: The beam deposits its energy not "behind the target" but simply "behind the point of contact". It really is just like a bullet - the bullet deposits its kinetic energy inside the target. The difference is that the beam is more or less scattered so the energy is deposed in a cone with its apex at the point of contact. The problem is that some targets, such as humans or fighter planes, are so thin that a beam of high-velocity neutral particles will pass straight through making a neat tiny little hole which may well be less than fatal. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 22:43
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP I know, this, and I know, that it could still be a great anti-tank weapon, however, it would be silly if it just fails against unarmored human targets. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 22:46
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I guess I don't understand all the physics, but why can't you turn down the power? Less power -> less penetration -> higher absorption in the thin target. $\endgroup$
    – user25818
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ I feel like @notstoreboughtdirt has it right here. You "simply" have a much lower powered setting (or variant) for soft/small targets $\endgroup$
    – Andon
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 3:26
  • $\begingroup$ A better choice of particles for the munitions feedstock for a neutral beam is hydrogen, it gives protons and electrons. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


The conceptual problems with the Teleforce knock-off neutral beam weapon lie with a failure to understand the basic physics involved in making such a weapon.

The proposed particles of "mercury-; nitrogen-; or iron nuclei" are all a poor choice. As nuclei they have too much mass to be readily stopped at the target and thereby transfer their kinetic energy to it. As recommended above, "A better choice of particles for the munitions feedstock for a neutral beam is hydrogen, it gives protons and electrons."

In this configuration the neutral article beam consists of protons and electrons. The electrons, which are effectively beta radiation, will be stopped within a shallow distance of the surface of the target. Protection for beta radiation only needs to be the thickness of a brown paper bag. The protons having a thousand times the mass of the electrons will penetrate to depths of centimetres. Effectively the neutral particle beam has been separated into two charged particle beams. The electron beam which stops effectively at the surface of the target, and a proton beam which bores into the bulk matter of the target.

Two factors will bring the proton beam to slow down and inflict more damage on the target. The matrix of charged matter within the target itself will exert a 'braking force'; this will transfer kinetic energy from the protons to the atoms of the target. Thus causing damage. The build-up of a negative charge on the surface of the target might act as an electrostatic decelerating force to slow down the protons. As they move more slowly they have a better chance of damaging the target. Though this effect may be discounted due to the dominance of electrostatic forces inside the target's bulk matter.

Attempts to prevent the dispersion of a particle beam beyond the target will be futile. This is contrary to physics and a complete waste of time and effort. A mindless pursuit of the unattainable. The sensible approach is to design and produce a neutral particle beam weapon whereby the energy of the particles is brought to bear more effectively on and within the target itself. There will be inevitable losses of particles and their energy beyond and behind the target. Forget about that, preventing it is nonsense. Concentrate on delivering the maximum amount of particle beam energy to the target.

  • $\begingroup$ If your particles were antimatter they would need to traverse the target without hitting anything. Anti-lead would be difficult to obtain but a beam of positrons has been done. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Will You've lost me. Why would you want antimatter to traverse the target without hitting anything? That's the problem this question wants to avoid. An anti-lead beam has many problems let alone hard for it to 'hit' the target. A neutral particle beam of electrons and positrons would be more effective for destroying the target. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 4:08
  • $\begingroup$ think of the problem of a rifle bullet. It hits me and comes through with a significant amount of its energy remaining. But I am definitely hit. Same with a particle: it might come out of me after ricocheting about - in fact that ricocheting is what causes the cone effect on the far side. But an antimatter particle will react and explode with first hit. It can only traverse if it hits no matter on the way. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 21:18

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