In 'Too Short a Season' Picard mentions that he has heard phasers set on stun before.

How are phasers set to stun different to those on a kill, or 'cut' setting? Is it simply a difference in intensity of nadion particles? Or something else?

  • Are you asking how the setting of a phaser affects its audible characteristics?
    – bitmask
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


Addressing "How does a phaser change from Stun to Kill?"

The Star Trek the Next Generation Technical (isbn 0-671-70427-3) Manual covers the power settings.

The differences in the settings are based on power output and duration, as well as SEM (Simple Electro-Magnetic) and NDF Nuclear Disruption Force ratios.

I don't want to quote the whole article (plagiarism/copyright) but here are some settings listed:

For personal phasers:

  • Setting 1: Light Stun - discharge energy index 15.75 for .025 seconds. SEM:NDF ratio N/A (Calibrated for base humanoid physiology)
  • Setting 2: Medium Stun: Discharge energy 45.30 for .075 seconds SEM:NDF ratio N/A
  • Setting 3 (Heavy Stun) Discharge energy 160.65 for 1.025 seconds SEM:NDF ratio N/A
  • Setting 4 (Thermal Effects) Discharge energy 515.75 for 1.5 seconds SEM:NDF ratio N/A


At setting 6, disruption effects kick in, introducing the SEM:NDF ratios on up through

  • Setting 10: Disruption Effect, Discharge energy 125,000 for 1.3 seconds SEM:NDF ratio 1:9

Addressing the audible effects issue

It seems to me that since these give different energy outputs, the sound would be different. A blender on setting 4 makes a different sound than one at setting 5, etc.

I can usually tell the difference between the sound of a .22 rifle, a 9mm, and a .45 caliber (although that's only because they get drastically louder as you go).

I can definitely tell the difference between different fans that we have in our house.

Someone trained in the use of these weapons should be able to tell the difference between the settings by sound as well.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.