I'm aware of the "Heisenberg compensator" plot device to explain how transporters get around the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. However, it occurs to me that there is an even more basic (i.e., in terms of classical physics) flaw with their usage: matter spontaneously appearing or disappearing. Wouldn't the sudden infinite pressure differential be, well, problematic to say the least?

Is it ever explained how this is compensated for?

One could imagine that matter is simply swapped betweem the transporter source and destination. However, this still suffers from the same problem; albeit not to the singularity extent. That said, IIRC, transporting into the vacuum of space is a thing.


1 Answer 1


Pure speculation on my part here1

The action of a transporter is not instantaneous2, therefor the insertion of matter into a volume of gas will cause a gradual rather than an instantaneous increase in pressure on a macro scale.

On a micro scale the addition of individual atoms will theoretically cause an instantaneous increase pressure in the new locale of that atom. But at that level it's all statistical anyway, and anyway there is a huge gap between atoms in a gas - so the pressure of a single atom will hardly be noticeable.

  1. Remember to take suitable amounts of salt when trying to apply real world physics to works of fiction.

  2. But if you start considering beings like Q popping in and out, then you need to start asking about things like pressure waves.

  • Purely speculative answers aren't all that useful, especially when there's such a vast corpus of additional materials to draw from.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 18:14

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