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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old April 28 2015, 11:41 PM   #1
CuttingEdge100
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Transporter Technology

As I understand it, the transporter in Star Trek takes matter, transforms it into energy; then zaps it to another location, turns it back to matter and reassmbles it right?

If so, why do they need matter and anti-matter? Why not just use a transporter to just break down some hydrogen as it nears the reaction chamber into pure energy and just not re-assemble it...
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Old April 29 2015, 11:02 AM   #2
Timo
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Re: Transporter Technology

The transporter takes matter and transforms it into something. We don't know exactly what, but the expression we hear used is "phased matter stream". Everything suggests it's not energy, not by the E=mcc rules anyway, because transporting is a low-energy process - ships and craft starved of energy can perform it, and even a hand phaser battery can provide the necessary power.

Or then it's a zero-sum game, and all the fantastic energies resulting from turning the matter into a "beam" are fully reabsorbed at the other end. We don't really know.

Nevertheless, in the general case, turning matter into energy isn't necessarily going to produce any energy, as the turning may consume much more than is obtained from the matter.

There are other reasons why the transporter might suggest our heroes no longer need a "source of energy", though. The heroes are always beaming between a starship in orbit and a planet, for example; this would involve a great change in angular momentum, a quantity necessarily preserved by classical rules of mechanics. Yet somehow the heroes experience none. Does the angular momentum go to storage somewhere, to be reused later? That sort of stuff could be harnessed to literally make entire planets turn!

As far as we are talking about keeping energy in storage, though, antimatter is a very nice way to do it. It's harmless when kept in a forcefield, and we know from various examples that Trek forcefields consume little or no power and can maintain their strength for thousands of years if need be.

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Old May 29 2015, 06:49 AM   #3
Go-Captain
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Re: Transporter Technology

Throughout TNG and ENT it becomes clearer that the "matter to energy" description is really describing turning matter into a subspace phenomena/energy. This is not to b be confused with a subspace transporter, which seems to project the energy through subspace, and achieve far greater range. So, it's not actual energy to matter, matter to energy conversion.

That's not even the case with replicators, they actually have a matter stock from which they retrieve materials, as seen in DS9. Replicators also have atomic level inaccuracy as displayed by their inability to create certain chemicals, usually in regard to vital medicines, so they're really like inaccurate transporters. No wonder normal replicators cannot make living things.
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Old May 29 2015, 09:08 AM   #4
Timo
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Re: Transporter Technology

But there is no inability. There is just greater or lesser difficulty - as evidenced by great challenges being met even if the users complain about lesser challenges.

Specifically, normal replicators can and do make living things. In VOY "Emanations", there was no trick to making living neural matter for a patient by using the standard replicator available to the EMH. (Also, replicators create living things in TNG "Quality of Life" and "Emergence", even though they are not organic in nature.) That biomimetic gel isn't readily replicated but rather stolen just means it's difficult to replicate, but not necessarily impossible - and we never learn that the difficulty would stem from complexity. After all, replicators get complex stuff (such as tastes) exactly right, while fumbling on bulk for various reasons (such as lack of raw power available).

Whether the phased matter stream is a subspace phenomenon or not, opinions vary. Subspace may be involved in normal transporting in various ways, but "phasing" might be a completely separate fictional phenomenon and the actual underlying physical basis of transporting. Or of making people disappear at the push of a button in general...

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Old May 30 2015, 08:01 AM   #5
Go-Captain
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Re: Transporter Technology

Timo wrote: View Post
Specifically, normal replicators can and do make living things. In VOY "Emanations", there was no trick to making living neural matter for a patient by using the standard replicator available to the EMH.
The Doctor only says he replicated new tissue, we do not see him perform the procedure, let alone use a standard replicator. Based on what happens with the replication of Worf's spine in “Ethics”, replicating any tissue would have required a specialized replicator.

(Also, replicators create living things in TNG "Quality of Life" and "Emergence", even though they are not organic in nature.) That biomimetic gel isn't readily replicated but rather stolen just means it's difficult to replicate, but not necessarily impossible - and we never learn that the difficulty would stem from complexity.
In both those cases they're dealing with hardware, the Exocomps, and spontaneous mystery lifeform. Since it is already known living things cannot be replicated using normal replicators, it stands to reason those beings were able to function with either lower resolution replication, or had greater redundancy in order to get around errors.

Not being able to replicate biomimetic gel fits with the issues they have with replicating certain critical drugs. This gives us levels of complexity from least to most.
  1. Food
  2. Organs
  3. Complex Chemicals
After all, replicators get complex stuff (such as tastes) exactly right, while fumbling on bulk for various reasons (such as lack of raw power available).
On the contrary, complaints concerning the flavor of replicated food, and superiority of cooked food items occur several times in TNG. The same is likely true of DS9 as well. This is likely a subtle matter, as the 21st century expats didn't note anything, but Sisko's father, a chef, likely did say something to that effect, and I believe Riker did as well when he got some alien eggs. He made scrambled eggs and only Worf liked them.

Whether the phased matter stream is a subspace phenomenon or not, opinions vary. Subspace may be involved in normal transporting in various ways, but "phasing" might be a completely separate fictional phenomenon and the actual underlying physical basis of transporting. Or of making people disappear at the push of a button in general...
In the ENT episode where the inventor of the transporter tries to retrieve his son from a years old transporter accident, his son is read on sensors as a subspace phenomena. It firmly establishes subspace and being turned into some sort of subspace event as being part of beaming. There are TNG incidents too, but I would need to review them. The one where Picard's soul is separated from his body might have evidence.
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Old May 30 2015, 08:39 AM   #6
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Transporter Technology

Timo wrote: View Post
all the fantastic energies resulting from turning the matter into a "beam" are fully reabsorbed at the other end.
Under normal operation, this is how it would have to be.
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Old May 30 2015, 09:39 AM   #7
Ithekro
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Re: Transporter Technology

The replicator might be able to recreate foods too perfectly. Chefs and people that are heavily into food culture go for the flair of the human (imperfect) touch. The dish calls for 3 teaspoons of butter, the chef grabs a tablespoon and take a glob of butter to the dish. A quarter teaspoon of salt? Whatever, this will do. A "pinch" of oregeno? Oy. Why else would the Food Channel have so much variety.

The replicator will replicated one dish the computer has scanned and replicate it perfectly. However, it will not be able to replicate your mother's meat sauce for you.
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Old May 30 2015, 04:11 PM   #8
Timo
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Re: Transporter Technology

Go-Captain wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
Specifically, normal replicators can and do make living things. In VOY "Emanations", there was no trick to making living neural matter for a patient by using the standard replicator available to the EMH.
The Doctor only says he replicated new tissue, we do not see him perform the procedure, let alone use a standard replicator. Based on what happens with the replication of Worf's spine in “Ethics”, replicating any tissue would have required a specialized replicator.
Yet we never learn that the EMH would have access to specialized hardware - and this is during the first season, when almost everything aboard the ship was broken anyway.

Sure, specialized replicators may well exist (at least there's the industrial variety, and the Class IV thing associated with it). But we never actually hear of resolution issues associated with a specific type of hardware, and techniques prototyped on customized hardware might thus well be applied on generic hardware soon thereafter.

In both those cases they're dealing with hardware, the Exocomps, and spontaneous mystery lifeform.
Yes, hardware like you and me.

Since it is already known living things cannot be replicated using normal replicators
No, it is not "known". No character of Star Trek ever makes such a claim.

For all we know, replicators can create people wholesale. But we do know that creating people wholesale is the Ding an sich that our heroes cannot stomach: they hate cloning in all of its forms, as seen in "Up the Long Ladder" or "Second Chances" or, say, "The Measure of a Man". So the role of replicators and their limitations in the fact that cloning of people does not take place much in TNG is fairly minimal, and doesn't help us tell whether replicators can create life at the push of a button or not.

it stands to reason those beings were able to function with either lower resolution replication, or had greater redundancy in order to get around errors.
This is quite possible. Then again, there is no requirement to believe in lower resolution: the Exocomps had dedicated hardware that they were constantly self-improving, and the "Emergence" entity had the full resources of the E-D prioritized for its creation.

Not being able to replicate biomimetic gel fits with the issues they have with replicating certain critical drugs. This gives us levels of complexity from least to most.
  1. Food
  2. Organs
  3. Complex Chemicals
There's no simple linear scale there, though, as the supposedly crudish viral containment vessels of "The Child" placed the greatest demands of all on the system, with massive power drain and processing time quoted.


There should be several parameters in the difficulty equation, explaining not just why biomimetic gel is difficult while fine dining is easy, but also why photon torpedo warheads are worth stealing while exocomps get replicated.



On the contrary, complaints concerning the flavor of replicated food, and superiority of cooked food items occur several times in TNG. The same is likely true of DS9 as well. This is likely a subtle matter, as the 21st century expats didn't note anything, but Sisko's father, a chef, likely did say something to that effect, and I believe Riker did as well when he got some alien eggs. He made scrambled eggs and only Worf liked them.
It is equally possible that these self-appointed connoisseurs would fail a blind test. After all, replication is the primary means of making food for mankind, as emphasized by the exceptions we see. Some people just like to complain.

Really, if there was room for error there, replicated food in all its immense variety would become poison often enough. And then some busybody would slap limiters on the tech and ban all that variety for the sake of safety.

In the ENT episode where the inventor of the transporter tries to retrieve his son from a years old transporter accident, his son is read on sensors as a subspace phenomena. It firmly establishes subspace and being turned into some sort of subspace event as being part of beaming. There are TNG incidents too, but I would need to review them. The one where Picard's soul is separated from his body might have evidence.
That one ("Lonely Among Us") establishes Picard's "soul" as "energy only" and "nothing but energy". Since this is highly exceptional circumstances, it's impossible to tell whether routine beaming would involve "energy" of this sort in any role at all - and we never learn what sort of energy this was anyway.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old June 4 2015, 12:50 AM   #9
Pauln6
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Re: Transporter Technology

I think transporters work conceptually (i.e. not as kill and clone machines) if the whole person is being phased into some other dimension that exists beyond time and space and is replaced in our dimension with quantum linked energy from that same dimension. So the energy can then be sent safely via the subspace carrier wave, locked into the correct order by the confinement beam. When the beam is removed, the energy swaps places with the quantum linked atoms and the person automatically reforms at the new location. If the confinement beam is scrambled, your atoms reform in the wrong order and you get a mess like TMP.

In any transport some energy leaks so a proportion of the person has to be replicated from info in the pattern buffers when returning to the ship but if too much leaks away, you just get a replicated corpse. In rare examples someone made of 50% replcated matter survives and you end up with two people.

I think the language used on screen doesn't support this theory but I like it as it helps to explain quite a bit of the weirdness we see on screen in some episodes. It could also open up more interesting limitations on transports e.g. A maximum number of transports allowed per person in a month due to the health risk of ending up with too many replicated cells.
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Old June 5 2015, 02:44 PM   #10
USS Triumphant
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Re: Transporter Technology

You're not going to get a solid answer: the writers of different episodes had different ideas about the tech involved. In one episode, it's an energy beam that actually carries your material, in another, it passes you through subspace, in yet another, it is just a *pattern* carrier beam that reassembles you from matter on the other end. And on a couple of occasions, it also does some very strange things involving something like gene therapy.

Decide how YOU think it works, be consistent in anything you use it for (like if you're writing fanfic, or just daydreaming), but don't argue with others who decide on a different understanding of how it works that yours is The One True Answer, because there isn't one.
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