Personally, I've always liked the idea that dilithium is what turns the energy produced by a matter-antimatter reaction into something useful. Most of what comes out of the reaction is neutrinos and gamma rays, neither of which are useful for power. The dilithium does something - possibly related to 'transtator' technology - that captures them and turns them into heat, electrical power, or something else that can actually be used to energize the plasma in the reactor system. The system may still work without the dilithium in there, but the vast majority of the energy produced with be useless (and also it will be spewing gamma rays).
Robert Comsol wrote:
That's not how I read this dialogue. Geordi has merely found a way to make more efficient use of the available matter and antimatter supplies, thus allowing to make extended use of what's available.
So more efficient
is to use more of it in the same span of time
? "The system should be able to accept more reactants at a faster rate of injection."
That just means burn more fuel. If they have a fixed gas tank, they'll use it up faster. However, the opposite is occurring as they are able to refill it faster than it is being drained by the booby trap. But, if that's where you're going with it, we'll just have to disagree
Actually, that may be the case. Depending on exactly how the dampening field works, it may be more efficient to have fewer but more powerful pulses of energy coming from the reactor instead of many smaller ones.