Conversion Technology
Conversion Reactor
Image from Steve Bowers
The generation of energy from matter using reactions between magnetic monopoles and normal atoms.

Monopole Conversion works on the same principle as the conversion drive starship. While providing near limitless power, and avoiding the dangers inherent in amat storage, this method of energy generation requires access to magnetic monopoles or monopole matter (magmatter). Conversion power generators were first developed by Federation transapients in 1485 AT, but a simplified form of the technology was not made available to modosophonts until some time later.

The basic monopole reactor operates via the catalysis or "boosting" of fusion by monopoles in common elements such as hydrogen and helium (although in principle any material that can be converted to a plasma to allow the monopoles to come into contact with the protons will do). More advanced conversion reactors work by carefully applying controlled amounts of conventional matter against a magmatter surface, resulting in the instant conversion of the conventional matter to energy.

During the conversion process, the converted nucleon dumps its energy into the surrounding nucleus, fragmenting it into small, fast pieces. These pieces (except for neutrons) quickly dump their energy into the surrounding matter, heating it up. Exceptions occur for very light elements, where some of the energy may be released in the form of pions. Any conversion process will also produce a positron, neutrino, or electron. The positrons annihilate with a nearby electron to produce a gamma ray pair. Neutral pions decay nearly immediately into high energy gamma rays. Charged pions will travel a considerable fraction of a meter before decaying into muons and muon neutrinos, and the muons travel for many tens or hundreds of meters before decaying into electrons, positrons, muon neutrinos, and electron neutrinos. Charged pions that are slowed down by collisions with surrounding nuclei such that they are brought to rest in the material will be captured by nearby nuclei, and when they decay they will fragment that nucleus, similar to if a nucleon of that nucleus was converted (although with somewhat lower energy release). Positrons from charged positive pion —> muon —> positron decay (ignoring the neutrinos) will also annihilate with nearby electrons to produce gamma ray pairs. Unstable nuclear fragments produced either by pion capture or conversion will eventually decay via gamma, beta, or alpha emission.

The output of a conversion reactor is usually used to create a high temperature plasma from which electricity can be extracted via standard magnetohydrodynamic methods. Uses of conversion technology include power generation, sometimes on a very small scale; Conversion Drive for spacecraft, and Conversion weapons.

Conversion technology provides very large amounts of energy from very small amounts of fuel, but it requires magmatter or monopoles, which were originally the product of transapient technology. However the technology required to create monopoles and magmatter in monopole breeder reactors was gifted to many modosophont societies by the Sephirotic transapients , and has been reverse engineered by several others, so is readily available in the modern era.

 
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  • Fusion Reactor - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Power generation through the release of heat through a controlled nuclear fusion reaction. The hot plasma is confined in a magnetic bottle. Dedicated expert systems and subturing computers are required to ensure that the magnetic bottle remains at exactly the right charge to safely hold the plasma. Fusion generation is a widely relied upon power source throughout much of the galaxy, both to power large vehicles and settlements. Although not as efficient as amat, it is considerably safer, since there is no need to store amat and a magnetic failure means the hot plasma disperses causing only minor local damage.
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Development Notes
Text by Luke Campbell, Adam Getchell and Steve Bowers

Initially published on 14 September 2009.