(covers information from several alternate timelines)
The transporter was a subspace device capable of almost instantaneously transporting an object from one location to another, by using matter-energy conversion to transform matter into energy, then beaming it to or from a chamber where it is reconverted back into its original pattern. (TOS: "The Squire of Gothos", "The Savage Curtain")
Alternate names for the transporter included matter stream converter, energy-matter scrambler, or transporting device. (TOS: "The Savage Curtain", "The Empath"; ENT: "Broken Bow", "Vanishing Point"; TNG: "Ship in a Bottle"; VOY: "Ex Post Facto") The Organians referred to Klingon transporters as material transmission units. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy") The Ferengi referred to theirs as a matter-energy device. (TNG: "The Last Outpost") Spock determined that the device used by the Vians that beamed himself, Leonard McCoy, and James T. Kirk to an underground location on the planet Minara II, was what he described as a matter-energy scrambler. (TOS: "The Empath")
- 1 History
- 2 Operations
- 3 Transporter types
- 4 Limitations
- 5 Special operations
- 5.1 Automatic return
- 5.2 Disabling active weapons
- 5.3 Falsifying disintegration by a phaser
- 5.4 Connecting two transporters
- 5.5 Intraship beaming
- 5.6 "Site-to-site" transport
- 5.7 Transporter trace
- 5.8 Deflecting the transporter beam
- 5.9 Single-person transport
- 5.10 Faking a transporter accident
- 5.11 Emergency mass beaming
- 5.12 Narrow confinement beam
- 5.13 Skeletal lock
- 5.14 Offensive use
- 5.15 Medical transports
- 5.16 Rematerialization without clothes
- 5.17 Other operations
- 6 Appendices
Although transporters have been used by many civilizations throughout history, the first Human-made transporter was invented sometime prior to 2121, originated by Emory Erickson, who was revered as the "Father of the Transporter". The first operable transporter was developed around 2124.
Erickson later recalled his experience as the first person to go through a transporter, which he was terrified to attempt. According to Erickson, "that original transporter took a full minute and a half to cycle through. Felt like a year. You could actually feel yourself being taken apart and put back together. When I materialized, first thing I did was lose my lunch. Second thing I did was get stone drunk." Years later, Erickson lamented that "during the initial tests for the transporter, some brave men and women were lost," adding, "not a day goes by that I don't think about them." Though his vision was a success, he could never recapture his past glory, as his follow up efforts with sub-quantum teleportation were never realized, an effort that ultimately led to the loss of his son, Quinn. (ENT: "Daedalus")
In an illusion created during Hoshi Sato's eight seconds in the pattern buffer, her mind created a fictional story of a man named Cyrus Ramsey. In this apparent ghost story, as told through an illusion of Trip Tucker, an event occurred in Madison, Wisconsin in May 2146, where "Ramsey was a test subject for the first long-range transport. Just one hundred meters. Something went wrong with the pattern buffer. He never rematerialized." Malcolm Reed, who couldn't believe that Sato had never heard the story before, since one could not "go on a survival overnight without hearing a story about someone seeing Ramsey's molecules rematerializing on a foggy night." (ENT: "Vanishing Point")
The descendants of colonists who established an early Human settlement, on the planet Terra 10, retained knowledge of transporter technologies until at least 2269, as well as intersat code even though that communication method went out of use two centuries beforehand. (TAS: "The Terratin Incident")
Early Starfleet efforts in the application of transporter technology were similar to 24th century transporters used by the Ligonians, but Ligonian transporters used the Heglenian shift method to convert matter and energy. (TNG: "Code of Honor")
Enterprise NX-01 was one of the first Starfleet starships to be equipped with a transporter authorized for transporting biological objects. Initially, however, it was utilized only sparingly, due to a general distrust of the technology held by Enterprise crew members. (The captain himself refused to put his dog through the system.) Its use became much more common during Enterprise's search of the Delphic Expanse. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Strange New World", "The Andorian Incident", "Fortunate Son", "Hatchery"; "Countdown", et al.)
These early transporters were not very reliable, and, even after Enterprise's mission, most were authorized for non-biological transports only. Even when transporter use became commonplace, most Humans and other races at a similar stage of technological development preferred traditional methods of travel. (ENT: "Strange New World", "The Andorian Incident", "Daedalus")
As Starfleet continued its exploration of space, dependence on transporters grew significantly. Transporters could simplify away missions considerably by eliminating the need for a shuttlecraft. In case of emergencies (medical or otherwise), the time saved could mean the difference between life or death. (ENT: "Strange New World")
Before 2164, on at least Freedom-class starships, the transporters were only meant for cargo and not organic matter. However, they could be modified to transport organic matter with some risk. (Star Trek Beyond)
With the advent of safer transporters, biological transport became increasingly common, which led to the appearance of the first transporter-related diseases. The best-known disease was transporter psychosis, which was diagnosed in 2209 on Delinia II. Following the perfection of the multiplex pattern buffers, such cases were virtually eliminated. (TNG: "Realm of Fear")
By 2249, further advancements were made in perfecting the technology, this time by reducing power consumption. Older units, such as lateral vector transporters had been discarded on Vulcan due to the massive amount of power they required. Starfleet had also phased them out, but some older ships, such as the Walker-class USS Shenzhou, still had them installed. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")
Most space-faring civilizations of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants employed transporter technology for short-range transport of personnel and equipment, however the technology was still rather unknown in the far reaches of the Delta Quadrant. To these species, the many advantages to utilizing transporters and replicators made the technology a point of contention, especially between the Kazon and the crew USS Voyager. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Maneuvers", et al.)
Traveling by transporter was essentially instantaneous and an individual's sense of time while transporting was effectively non-existent. Benjamin Sisko and Harry Kim, while training at Starfleet Academy in San Francisco, frequently transported to New Orleans and South Carolina, respectively, to see their parents. (DS9: "Explorers"; VOY: "Non Sequitur")
Innovations in transporter technology around this time included safer site-to-site transport, which allowed for transport between two locations without first returning to a transporter room. (TNG: "The Game", et al.)
By the 29th century, Starfleet had developed temporal transporter technology that allowed travel through time in a very similar manner to standard transporters of earlier centuries. (VOY: "Relativity")
In general, a transporter chief was responsible for the operational readiness, maintenance and repair of a ship or station's transporter systems.
A typical transport sequence, generally initiated by the request to "energize", began from the transporter console with transporter pre-sequencing that, once complete, transporter coordinates were established on the object or destination by the targeting scanners, which thereafter a transporter lock was made. (VOY: "Jetrel", "Initiations", "Twisted")
Simultaneously, the object was broken down into a stream of subatomic particles, also called the matter stream. (TNG: "Datalore") The transporter signal was then transferred to the pattern buffer, then again transferring to the emitter array. (VOY: "Eye of the Needle", "Twisted") The matter stream was then transmitted to its destination across a subspace domain. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II") When used, a transporter left residual ionization in the air. (TNG: "The High Ground")
In 2258 of the alternate reality, the transporter operation process included the use of the annular confinement beam, followed by electromagnetic focusing and the use of a gravitational compensator. The transporter operator then applied a temporal differential and engaged a particle lock. (Star Trek)
Twenty-third century Klingon transporter systems shared the same basic technology as Federation transporter systems. Even though the transporter systems of an Intrepid-class were much more sophisticated than those of a D7 class, the targeting scanners worked on the same principals. With exception of the more advanced systems having had the ability to expand transporter buffer capacity, they really were not all that different. (VOY: "Prophecy")
Also during this time frame, Romulan transporters were know to operate on a similar subspace frequency to those used aboard Federation starships, and with only a few minor adjustments, they could be made to simulate the transporter carrier waves used by their Federation counterparts. (TNG: "Data's Day")
From its earliest incarnations until the 2270s, transporters generally immobilized the subject being beamed during dematerialization and rematerialization. Advances in transporter technology after that point allowed a person being transported to move or converse, during the process, in a limited fashion. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
By the 24th century, emergency transporter armbands, transponders and combadges could be programmed to remotely activate a transporter. Normally, remote transporter activation was limited to emergencies or when the crew of a vessel was not on board. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "Realm of Fear"; DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")
Safety features, protocols, and components
As with other Starfleet technology, the transporter had its own set of safety features, protocols, and procedures. In an emergency, many of these safety systems could be modified or circumvented.
Early versions of the transporter in the 22nd century appeared to have no protection against external incursions into an active transport. "Foreign matter," such as blowing debris, could get caught up in the transport and become embedded or integrated into the subject. (ENT: "Strange New World") Energy weapons fire would also affect the subject, unless it was sufficiently far into the transport that the fire passed through it harmlessly. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Countdown") By the late 23rd century, however, transporters shielded the subject from these external incursions. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "A Matter of Perspective") They could even neutralize particle weapon fire initiated during transport. (TNG: "The Most Toys")
Biofilters were uniformly used on all Federation transporters by the 24th century. These filters functioned to decontaminate transported objects and prevent harmful substances, pathogens, and even certain forms of radiation (including theta radiation), from contaminating the rest of the ship or station. This process replaced earlier systems that required the subject to be fully rematerialized on the transport platform before applying an energy-based process to topically decontaminate the transportee. (VOY: "Macrocosm", "Night"; TOS: "The Naked Time")
Though the biofilters performed a general contaminant removal with each transport, they were far from perfect; previously unknown infections or viruses occasionally failed to register, requiring the filters to be recalibrated to recognize the new threat. As such, biofilters were incapable of filtering out certain types of substances and pathogens, most notably psychic energy. (TNG: "Lonely Among Us", "Power Play")
Biofilters were also unable to detect and filter certain types of phased reality lifeforms without prior calibration. Biofilters also functioned to detect and disable weapons and explosives (remat detonators, for example). (TNG: "Realm of Fear", "The Schizoid Man", "The Most Toys")
The transporter also saved biological data of the individuals transported. In 2374, The Doctor was able to give a diagnosis on Seven of Nine's irrational behavior after studying her last recorded transporter data. (VOY: "The Raven")
Except in cases of extreme emergency, protocols prohibited transporting objects while traveling at warp speed. (TNG: "The Schizoid Man") Such transports are possible, however, if the two vessels match warp velocities. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds"; VOY: "Maneuvers")
During the 22nd century, standard Earth transporter systems had a range of ten thousand kilometers; however, by the 24th century, the maximum range of standard transporter systems was about forty thousand kilometers, though a special type of transport, called subspace transport, could beam over several light years. (ENT: "Rajiin"; TNG: "A Matter Of Honor", "Bloodlines") Many 24th century starships were equipped with an emergency transporter system, but these only had a range of, at best, ten kilometers. (VOY: "Future's End")
Although having a maximum range of about forty thousand kilometers, some conditions adversely affected the effective range. In at least one instance – due to missing components of Voyager's primary computer systems – the starship Voyager had to be within five hundred kilometers of a planet's surface to use transporters on Kathryn Janeway and a hologram of Leonardo da Vinci. (VOY: "Concerning Flight")
The maximum range of a transporter differed by species, depending on what kind of technologies they used to build it. The transporter with the longest known range was that of the Sikarians, with a range of about forty thousand light years; however, this was due to their planet's large quartz mantle, which amplified their transporter signal. Because of this, Sikarian transporter technology worked only on their homeworld. (VOY: "Prime Factors")
Gary Seven's mysterious sponsors on the Assigners' planet possessed transporter technology with a range of at least a thousand light years, according to Spock. Montgomery Scott later noted that Seven's beam was so powerful it fused all recording circuits, and therefore he could not say exactly how far it transported Seven, or even whether it transported him through time. Exactly how they achieved this effect remains unknown, since there has been no subsequent contact with them, and they hide their entire homeworld in some fashion. There were, however, other indications that their technology was considerably advanced beyond that of the 23rd century Federation. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth")
The Vedala, one of the oldest space-faring races, also possessed transporter technology capable of beaming people and equipment to and from other planets (presumably in different star systems). (TAS: "The Jihad") Dominion transporter technology, enhanced with a homing transponder, was said to have had a range of at least three light years. (DS9: "Covenant")
Diagnostic and maintenance tools
- Annular confinement beam
- Biofilter assembly
- Emitter array
- Gravitational compensator
- Heisenberg compensator
- Imaging scanner
- Inducer module
- Molecular imaging scanner
- Particle lock
- Pattern buffer
- Phase discriminator
- Phase inducer
- Phase transition coil
- Primary energizing coil
- Rematerialization subroutine
- Site-to-site transport interlock
- Targeting scanner
- Transporter console
Almost all Starfleet facilities and starships were equipped with at least one transporter device. The number of transporter devices differed; for example, most shuttlecraft had one transporter while Galaxy-class starships had twenty. (TNG: "11001001")
On ships where cargo bays were present, cargo transporters could often be found, as well.
Production of Mark V transporters was halted in 2356. By 2371, Mark VI transporters were considered outdated. Mark VII transporters were able to transport unstable biomatter, as long as the phase transition inhibitor was adjusted. (DS9: "Family Business")
The most commonly used type of transporter was the personnel transporter, designed primarily for personnel.
A pattern buffer with a biofilter was typically located on the deck below the transporter room. The outer hull of a starship incorporated a number of emitter pads for the transporter beam. (TNG: "Realm of Fear"; VOY: "Macrocosm")
Personnel transporters worked on the quantum level to enable secure transport of lifeforms. Biofilters built into the transporter systems prevented dangerous microorganisms from boarding the ship.
Transporter platforms had a variable number of pads, arranged in various layouts (by model and by manufacturing race).
The transporters installed on Earth's NX-class starships featured one large circular pad that took up the entire platform. It was large enough to transport two to three people, provided they stood close together.
By the 23rd century, Federation transporter platforms featured multiple independent pads, typically six in a hexagonal configuration. One- and two-pad platforms were also available.
This became something of a standard layout for Federation transporters well into the next century. As an example, the platforms used on board Galaxy-class starships had the familiar six individual pads, with an over-sized pad (in the center of the platform) that could handle small cargo.
The model of transporter installed on board Defiant-class starships featured a ¾ circular platform and three personnel pads in a triangular formation.
Some 23rd century Klingon platforms featured six hexagonal pads in a straight line. Others, such as those on Birds-of-Prey, featured a small number of platforms in a tight group. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Cardassian transporter platforms in the 24th century featured three to five triangular pads placed close together, such as those installed on Deep Space 9.
The personnel transporter was a reliable but sometimes fragile piece of equipment. The phase coils, in particular, were vulnerable to feedback patterns and could be severely damaged as result of power surges or low-level phaser fire. (TNG: "Brothers")
Cargo transporters were larger-scale versions of personnel transporters and were optimized for the transport of inanimate objects. These transporters were adapted to handle massive quantities of material. (TNG: "Symbiosis", "The Hunted", "Power Play")
In case of an emergency, cargo transporters could be reset to quantum-level mode, making lifeform transport possible. One reason for such a reconfiguration was to expedite an evacuation of personnel. (TNG: "11001001")
Dedicated cargo transporter platforms used by Starfleet in the 24th century typically featured one large circular or oblong pad. (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
In the alternate reality, the USS Franklin was only equipped with cargo transporters. After the discovery of the Franklin's wreckage, Montgomery Scott was able to modify the transporters to beam lifeforms, though he only beamed Spock and Leonard McCoy on board one at a time so as not to risk splicing them together. With aid from Pavel Chekov, Scott was able to further modify the transporters to beam groups of twenty at a time though the transporters needed to recharge after at least two groups of twenty in a row. After Scott's modifications, the transporters were also able to beam two lifeforms and a motorcycle in motion to a destination. (Star Trek Beyond)
Portable transporters were self-contained units capable of direct site-to-site transport. While having the capability to be moved from one place to another, they were known to be rather large and bulky. (DS9: "Visionary")
In 2372 of an alternate timeline, Tom Paris owned an advanced, portable, site-to-site transporter device capable of transporting itself along with its payload. This device was small enough to be carried easily on a person. (VOY: "Non Sequitur")
Emergency transporters were a special type that had a low power requirement; in case of a ship-wide power failure, the crew could use these transporters for emergency evacuation. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual; VOY: "Future's End")
By the late 24th century, emergency transport was further improved through Starfleet's development of a single-person, single-use, one-way emergency transport unit. The device was small enough to be hand-held and could transport to specified coordinates with a single touch. Because of its extreme limitations, this device was not widely deployed and was still considered a prototype in 2379. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Public transporters were standalone transporter stations available for use by the civilian population of Starbase Yorktown. These automated units featured a selection of pre-programmed destination coordinates available to each user, allowing access to many public locations throughout the starbase. (Star Trek Beyond)
By 2375, the Federation had developed a micro-transporter – essentially a scaled-down version of a regular transporter – which was capable of transporting small amounts of material within an almost-imperceptible span of time. When attached to a TR-116 rifle, it could be used to transport the bullet to anywhere within the transporter's range, where it would continue at its original velocity until striking a target. (DS9: "Field of Fire")
Certain species experimented with transporters that differed in technology and theory than those used by most species encountered by the Federation.
The Sikarians were known to use a folded-space transporter, relying on dimensional shifting rather than matter-to-energy conversion. Similarly, the Iconians perfected their own form of transport, known as gateways, which were capable of near-instantaneous transport over vast distances. (VOY: "Prime Factors"; TNG: "Contagion")
Other transporter technologies
Gary Seven possessed an advanced form of transportation technology that he used to transport around the planet Earth and back to his home planet more than a thousand light years from Earth. When in operation, the chamber produced a cloud of a blue fog-like substance that enveloped the chamber. The chamber was controlled by the Beta 5 computer and was the first known transporter to be in use on Earth, especially given the time period of 1968.
The transporter beam could be intercepted by another transporter unit. This occurred when Gary Seven was in transit to Earth and his beam was accidentally intercepted by the USS Enterprise commanded by James T. Kirk. This would seem to dictate that both transporter technologies work on similar principles. Seven's device appeared to be more powerful than that of the Enterprise, for it was able to re-direct the transporter beam of the Enterprise back to it, and instead of Gary Seven re-materializing in the transporter room of the Enterprise, he re-materialized in his own device.
When not in use, the chamber door, which resembled that of a safe when it was closed, was hidden behind a shelf holding Martini glasses. The shelf and the brown wood finish surrounding it split down the middle and slid into the adjacent walls, allowing the chamber door to open. This action was achieved by moving the right pen on Gary Seven's desk downward. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth")
- Folded-space transporter
- Lateral vector transporter
- Matter-energy scrambler
- Molecular transporter
- Multidimensional transporter device
- Sub-quantum teleportation
- Temporal transporter
- See: Transporter accident
In general, transporters could not be used while the deflector shield of a ship was active, or a deflector shield was in place over the destination. However, it was possible to take advantage of EM "windows" that were created by the normal rotation of shield frequencies. During these periods, a hole opened, through which a transporter beam could pass. To use this window, timing needed to be absolute and usually required substantial computer assistance. This technique was theorized and first practiced in 2367, by USS Enterprise-D transporter chief Miles O'Brien. He happened to know the shields of the USS Phoenix well, including the timing. (TNG: "The Wounded")
The limitation of transporters versus shields was not universal, however. The Aldeans were able to pass through their own shielding using transporters, though the shielding was impenetrable to other forms of technology and weapons. Similarly, both the Borg and Dominion used transporter technology that was able to penetrate standard Federation shielding. Some adaptations, including rotating shield frequencies, could inhibit this ability but not eliminate it altogether. (TNG: "Q Who"; DS9: "The Jem'Hadar") Voth were able to beam entire starships into a single Voth city ship, despite its shield being raised and running at full capacity. (VOY: "Distant Origin")
Using transporters when a ship was at warp speed was very dangerous because warp fields created severe spatial distortions. (TNG: "The Schizoid Man") Therefore, transport at warp generally violated safety regulations. However, at-warp transport was attempted a handful of times, by making a few adjustments. These attempts were usually made under high-stakes combat conditions. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Emissary")
- If both ships maintained exact velocity (that is, the warp field on both vessels must have the same integral value/factor), transport at warp speed was possible. Failure to maintain the same velocities would result in severe loss of the annular confinement beam (ACB) and pattern integrity.
- If the ship was traveling at warp speed and the object to be beamed was stationary, transport was possible by synchronizing the ACB with the warp core frequency. This would cause difficulties in obtaining a good pattern lock. The Maquis were known to have used this method. (VOY: "Maneuvers")
- Sometime before 2387, Montgomery Scott discovered the necessary formulas enabling transwarp beaming. These were passed on to his alternate reality counterpart, but using these to beam onto the USS Enterprise caused him to become stuck in a water pipe leading to a turbine. (Star Trek)
"Near-warp" transport was also possible, but required extensive adjustments to the transport procedure. It involved the transporting ship energizing its transporters at the same time as it dropped out of warp for just long enough for the matter stream to be transmitted. The ship would then immediately jump back into warp.
Persons who experienced this form of transport subsequently remarked that there had been a brief sensation of being merged with an inanimate object, before the transporter beam reassembled them.
In 2374, Voyager personnel successfully used Intrepid-class transporters to beam stranded crew members from the USS Dauntless while both ships were traveling within a quantum slipstream. Voyager accelerated on a pursuit course during the transport, bypassing the velocity limitations imposed by warp field dynamics. (VOY: "Hope and Fear")
Radiation and substances
Some forms of radiation and substances, usually minerals such as kelbonite, prevented transporters from working. In most instances, the interference was caused by scattering of the annular confinement beam, or sensor interference preventing a transporter lock. Interference could be natural or artificial and usually occurred during surface-to-starship transport but might also occur between vessels. Examples of other radiation and substance limitations were:
- Thoron radiation
- Dampening field
- Ionic interference (see also Ion storm)
- Hyperonic radiation
- Electromagnetic storm
Over the centuries, numerous devices have been designed to overcome some limitations of transporters, while others were used to intentionally interfere with the operation of transporters.
By the 24th century, usage of pattern enhancers was common aboard most Starfleet vessels, most often deployed to a planet's surface during emergency situations where transport was critical.
Devices that were specifically designed to block transporter signals or to interfere with them were usually deployed under hostile conditions, thus making use of a transporter impossible or very dangerous and hampering maneuverability of personnel or material. Some of these devices were:
In 2375, Vedek Fala gave a small crystal to Colonel Kira Nerys, as a gift. The device, of unknown origin and design, was actually a transporter tag, which instantly transported her to Empok Nor, several light years distant. (DS9: "Covenant")
Also, in 2293, Spock used a viridium patch to locate and lock on to Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy on Rura Penthe. While not a transporter device, it was used to locate the subject with the transporter. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Transporting the injured
Although someone with minor injuries could be transported, this was not possible when the injuries were extensive. When the brain stem was damaged and autonomic functions were failing, transport was only possible if a volunteer controlled the person's autonomic functions. This was done by placing a neural pad at the base of the skull of both individuals and then connecting both people via a medical tricorder. This way, autonomic functions could be stabilized for a short period of time, making transport possible. (TNG: "Transfigurations")
In 2372, Odo began to experience the effects of an unknown affliction that he had acquired from his fellow Changelings, which caused the destabilization of his molecular structure. When it was proposed that he be ferried aboard the USS Defiant to the Founders' new homeworld, the crew had to wait for Odo to carry himself aboard the ship. When it was questioned why he couldn't go through the transporter, Doctor Julian Bashir explained that "his molecular structure is scrambled enough as it is," adding, "[t]he last thing he needs is a trip through a transporter buffer." (DS9: "Broken Link")
As of 2269, transporters could be set to automatically beam back an individual after a prearranged amount of time. In 2269, James T. Kirk asked Montgomery Scott to set automatic return for ten minutes. (TAS: "The Terratin Incident")
Disabling active weapons
By the 24th century, the transporter had the capability to disable any active weapon during transport. This could be accomplished by removing the discharged energy from the transporter signal, or by "deactivating" the weapon itself. The transporter system included weapons deactivation subroutines to control the process. (TNG: "The Most Toys", "The Hunted", "Rascals")
The transporter was also capable of removing weapons entirely during transport, a setting referred to by Starfleet as "Transport Protocol Five". When the Defiant beamed aboard survivors from a damaged Jem'Hadar ship, the transporter was programmed to remove the crew's disruptors and other weapons. (DS9: "To the Death")
Falsifying disintegration by a phaser
Although transports usually took several seconds to complete, it was possible to transport an individual to safety a split-second before they were to be struck by a phaser beam, making it appear as though they had been disintegrated. By 2373, Section 31 had access to such technology and used it to fake the death of operative Luther Sloan in front of the Romulan Continuing Committee. Since William Ross later told Julian Bashir that Tal Shiar chief Koval had fired a phaser at Sloan, rather than a disruptor pistol, it is likely the weapon had been specially modified and was integral to creating the illusion. (DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")
Connecting two transporters
Two transporters could be bridged together by means of a system interlock to facilitate direct transport between them. Federation vessels could activate other Federation vessels' transporters remotely by means of this. This meant that two transporters could be connected to each other to allow beaming in situations where it would otherwise not be possible due to ionic or some other type of interference. (TNG: "Symbiosis", "Realm of Fear")
First, a remote link to the other transporter had to be established, then the system interlock needed to be engaged and the pattern buffers of both transporters were synchronized. When the phase transition coils were in stand-by mode, energizing could commence.
In the mid-2260s, beaming from a transporter pad to a location within the same vessel was a very risky proposition. The limitations of the technology at that time made it highly probable that any error would result in the subject rematerializing within a bulkhead, deck, or other structure. As such, the procedure had rarely been attempted. (TOS: "Day of the Dove") The first occurrence of this procedure was used without incident, a century earlier. (ENT: "Chosen Realm")
In 2364, Commander William T. Riker and Lieutenant Tasha Yar used intraship beaming, during a rescue. When cargo instead of passengers was beamed aboard, Riker ordered Yar to beam the cargo to the hold, without a second thought. (TNG: "Symbiosis")
Intraship transport was apparently both safe and commonplace by the 2360s, as, beyond the aforesaid example, the technique was used a number of times aboard the USS Enterprise-D:
- Captain Jean-Luc Picard and First Officer Riker both beamed from a transporter room directly onto the bridge. (TNG: "11001001")
- When several Bringloidi were beamed aboard, carrying assorted farm animals, Picard ordered them beamed into Cargo Hold 7. (TNG: "Up The Long Ladder")
- While escaping a mind-controlled crew, Wesley Crusher engaged a program that beamed him from Deck 36 to Transporter Room 3. (TNG: "The Game")
- Ambassador Ves Alkar's assistant, Liva, was beamed away from her quarters on command from Captain Picard to prevent her being used by Alkar. (TNG: "Man of the People")
- When rogue Ferengi briefly took over the Enterprise, a plan was devised to capture them by beaming them one-by-one onto a transporter pad secured by a force field. (TNG: "Rascals")
- Picard, Riker, and several others transported from a shuttle in its bay directly to the observation lounge. (TNG: "Gambit, Part II")
The earliest known example of site-to-site transport carried out by Federation personnel occurred in 1986, though the transporter was on board a vessel that had traveled back in time from 2286. The craft which possessed site-to-site capabilities was Klingon in origin but had been stolen by the crew of the late starship Enterprise. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
By at least 2268, limitations in pattern buffer and targeting scanner technology had been sufficiently overcome that it was now possible to transport from one location directly to another without the need to re-materialize the subject in between. (TOS: "A Piece of the Action") In the 24th century, this operation was enabled and controlled by the site-to-site transport interlocks. (TNG: "Brothers")
Site-to-site transport held the matter stream in the pattern buffer while the ACB was re-targeted. Afterward, the matter stream was redirected to the new location and normal re-materialization was carried out.
Using this technique, any computer terminal with access to the main transporter sub-systems, or any applicable subroutine, could be used to control transporter operations, including bridge terminals. This technique could only be utilized when sufficient energy was available to the transporters; all normal transporter limitations would still apply. (Star Trek Nemesis)
This procedure was particularly useful in emergency medical situations where time was of the essence. Subjects could be beamed directly to sickbay, where treatment could be carried out quickly. (TNG: "Tapestry"; Star Trek: First Contact)
Seven of Nine once initiated a site-to-site transport into Chakotay's quarters. Instead of the door chimes sound, the comm tone is heard (not the boatswain whistle.) She thinks it would be inappropriate to be seen carrying flowers to the first officer's quarters (VOY: "Endgame").
By the 23rd century, it was common practice to store a "transporter trace" (a stored copy of a subject's molecular pattern as scanned during a normal transporter cycle). While it was usually kept for security purposes, in extreme situations, the transporter could be modified to use an older trace pattern in place of the latest scan for the purpose of re-configuring the matter stream during molecular conversion, effectively replacing a subject with a younger version of itself during matter re-construction. The first known use of this technique was in 2270, when it was used to restore the crew of the USS Enterprise, whose aging had been reversed, to their adult versions. (TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident") Another notable use of a transporter trace was in 2364, to restore Captain Jean-Luc Picard after an unsuccessful attempt by an alien energy being to merge with him. (TNG: "Lonely Among Us")
When necessary, a person's DNA could be used to create a transporter trace. This technique was utilized by Chief Miles O'Brien and Lieutenant Geordi La Forge during a mission to the Darwin Genetic Research Station in 2365.
Transporter traces were also used as a medical tool, to help in spotting anomalies at the molecular level. When comparing the transporter ID traces of Deanna Troi, Data and Miles O'Brien before and after they were taken over by Ux-Mal criminals, Doctor Beverly Crusher was able to detect that their nervous systems were generating high levels of synaptic and anionic energy. (TNG: "Power Play") Another example of such an application was in 2373, when The Doctor used Harry Kim's transporter trace records to determine when he had been infected with Taresian DNA. (VOY: "Favorite Son")
Deflecting the transporter beam
A transporter beam could be deflected to different coordinates by a tractor beam, so that the objects being transported would rematerialize at a point other than the intended target coordinates. Such action could only be detected by examining the transporter log. An unusual amount of antigraviton particles would be present in the emitter coil, as those particles do not occur naturally but are used by tractor beams. Locating the coordinates at which rematerialization took place was not possible; however, it was possible to calculate the point of origin of the tractor beam itself. (TNG: "Attached")
A transporter could be programmed to only allow one particular person to be transported to and from the transporter pad. Thus programmed, no other persons could use the transporter. If the use of the transporter was further prohibited, by use of an unknown access code, using the transporter was almost impossible.
The only way to circumvent this lock-out was to use the transporter trace from the person who re-programmed the transporter and to input this into the transporter while it was in its testing mode. When in testing mode, a transporter would accept simulated inputs. When the main computer could not be used, several tricorders could be networked together to control the transporter. To circumvent the lock-out, access codes from a few bridge officers were necessary to force it in a recall loop. Consequently, anyone and everyone who transported would be seen by the transporter as the person who had re-programmed it in the first place. (TNG: "Brothers")
Faking a transporter accident
A transporter accident could be faked in such a way that a transporter chief would think a person died during transport. For example, this could be done by adjusting the carrier wave of a second transporter to the carrier wave of the first. The person would then beam off the first transporter while the second transporter beamed in a small amount of genetically identical material.
Only a doctor could determine if this material was really the person in question. The transporter trace could be used to compare the logged DNA pattern "trace" to the "dead" person. Single-bit errors might be detected, if the "dead" material was replicated.
Another indicator of such a ruse would be a temporary increase of the matter to energy ratio, while transport was in progress. However, this increase could fall within the nominal operational parameters of the transporter in question. Investigation of the transporter logs would be necessary to find evidence of a second transporter signal. (TNG: "Data's Day")
Emergency mass beaming
Some transporters could transport large numbers of people, and either rematerialize them simultaneously, or in groups. However, this was not often done, due to safety reasons. In 2268, the crew of the USS Enterprise used their transporters in this manner to capture members of the crew of a Klingon ship. In 2377, the USS Voyager transported over two hundred Klingons off a battle cruiser by expanding the transporter's buffer capacity. (TOS: "Day of the Dove"; VOY: "Prophecy")
Narrow confinement beam
Setting a transporter's annular confinement beam to a narrow width would sometimes allow it to penetrate some types of shielding or other interference. One noteworthy application of this was to penetrate Borg shields, a procedure developed by scientists Magnus and Erin Hansen. (VOY: "Dark Frontier")
USS Voyager Chief Engineer B'Elanna Torres invented an emergency measure of locking a transporter beam onto minerals in the target's skeletal system, in order to allow transport when bio-signs could not be detected from transporting origins. This allowed personnel to be transported back to the ship, even if regular means of transporter lock failed. She came up with it after a conventional signal lock failed, during an emergency beam-out from a Borg cube in 2373. (VOY: "Scorpion")
In 2373, Nyrians used a long-range transporter to take control of the USS Voyager by beaming aboard the ship one person at a time, replacing a member of the crew in the process. Initially feigning ignorance and confusion, the Nyrians did not raise suspicion until they had already outnumbered the Voyager crew. By then, however, it was too late; the Nyrians commandeered Voyager and incarcerated the crew inside a simulated Earth-like environment aboard a massive prison ship. It was later revealed that this was an often-used Nyrian strategy, as it was far less costly than engaging in open hostilities. (VOY: "Displaced")
In 2374, pirates used transporters to steal the USS Voyager's main computer and other critical equipment, rendering the ship's weapons, navigation and propulsion inoperable. This led Tom Paris to remark, "I feel like we've just been mugged." (VOY: "Concerning Flight")
- See: Fetal transport
Rematerialization without clothes
The transporter was developed by the production staff of the original series as a solution of how to get crewmen off a planet quickly. The only alternative was to either land a massive ship each week, or regularly use shuttles for landings, both of which would have wreaked havoc on the production budget. (Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 519)) Although both of these were proposed in the initial draft of the series outline Star Trek is... (with regular shuttlecraft landings and rare descents of the ship), a revision of the same document (as reprinted in The Making of Star Trek, pp. 22–30) contained one of the first examples wherein the concept of the transporter was outlined. (; The Making of Star Trek, p. 26) The description posited a not-yet-named "energy-matter scrambler which can 'materialize' [landing parties] onto the planet's surface." The outline went on to say, "This requires maximum beam power and is a tremendous drain on the cruiser's power supply. It can be done only across relatively short line-of-sight distances. Materials and supplies can also be moved in this same manner, but require a less critical power expenditure." (The Making of Star Trek, p. 26)
Gene Roddenberry considered the invention of the transporter to be highly fortunate and "one of many instances where a compromise forced us into creative thought and actually improved on what we planned to do." He further explained, "If someone had said, 'We will give you the budget to land the ship,' our stories would have started slow, much too slow [....] Conceiving the transporter device [...] allowed us to be well into the story by script page two." (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 43–44)
The script of "The Cage", the first Star Trek pilot episode, referred to the transporter as consisting of a device that dominated the transporter room and "could be an artist's nightmare-conception of a futuristic x-ray machine," as well as a "glassed-in transporter chamber" that the device hovered over.
The depiction of the transporter in TOS: "The Man Trap" was instrumental to that installment becoming the first to ever be broadcast. Though "The Man Trap" writer George Clayton Johnson was unaware of this at the time, Herb Solow informed him, years afterwards, of the transporter's importance in convincing the executives at NBC to air "The Man Trap" first. Johnson relayed, "He told me, 'By going with yours, we were able to open the series with the crew getting aboard the transporter device and beaming down to the planet. By letting the audience watch the transporter in action, and letting them see the crew materialize and dematerialize, we were saved from having to try to explain it.'" (George Clayton Johnson – Fictioneer, "Star Trek")
In an early written version of TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", the transporter was described as an "energy matter scrambler" (matching how it had been characterized in the aforementioned revised draft of Star Trek is...). In a series of research notes (dated 11 May 1966), however, Kellam de Forest pointed out, "'Scramble' implies that objects are mixed in an unorganized fashion. The transporter converts the matter of the body into energy." As a result, de Forest suggested instead referring to the transporter as an "energy matter converter."
Arthur Singer, the story editor for the third season of TOS, had some uncertainty about the function of the transporter, which he expressed around three months after D.C. Fontana left the series as story editor. Regarding how Singer voiced his confusion about the device, Fontana recalled, "[He] wandered onto the set and asked our set decorator, 'By the way, what does that transporter thing do again?'"
The writers/directors guide for Star Trek: Phase II contained the exact same statement. (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p. 96) For that series, a "transporter station" was to have been incorporated into the Enterprise bridge, complete with a working transporter. (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p. 20) This was to have served as an equipment transporter, for beaming such things as small tools to the bridge. (text commentary, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (The Director's Edition) DVD) On 13 October 1977, Gene Roddenberry posited that transporters of Phase II would be able to beam through the Enterprise's force field when it was fully raised, by opening a section of the force field in order to make it weak or moderate. (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p. 50) However, the writers/directors guide for the series clarified that the Enterprise's transporter could not be operated while the ship's deflector screen was in operation. (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p. 97)
Gene Roddenberry briefly considered – early one day, while Star Trek: The Next Generation was in preproduction – vastly increasing the power of the transporter in The Next Generation to such an extent that no main starship was to have been featured in that series. This unusual suggestion was scrapped by the end of lunch on that particular day.(Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission 1st ed., p. 14) David Gerrold argued against it, pointing out that the Enterprise was necessary for Star Trek to be successful because the ship was "the star of the show." Added Gerrold, "He says, 'Okay. Just throwing that out.'" (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part 1: Inception, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features) Also during the development of TNG, some consideration was given to the possibility of featuring a transporter on the Galaxy-class bridge, though this idea was soon dropped in favor of turbolifts. (Starlog issue #125, p. 46) Since David Gerrold had listed (in his book The World of Star Trek [page number? • edit]) transporter malfunctions as being a too-overused plot device in the original series, Roddenberry intended to correct this in TNG. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before paperback ed., p. 110)
The transporter and the term "beam" were so relatively easy to account for that they were among multiple reasons for Rick Berman and Michael Piller deciding that a new science fiction series they were asked to create, which ultimately became Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, would be in the Star Trek mold, rather than a brand new show. Since the design parameters of the series were very well defined, putting a Starfleet-usable transporter aboard space station Deep Space 9 turned out to be "not difficult at all," in Production Designer Herman Zimmerman's words. The transporter in the station's Operations Center was designed by Ricardo F. Delgado and illustrated in a concept sketch by him. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 3, p. 6) The creators of the then-new show opted to rely on the fact that transporters had already been established earlier in the Star Trek franchise. "We won't reinvent the transporter – everyone knows how the transporter works, we don't have to explain that any more," stated Zimmerman. (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 52)
The concept of a long-range transporter was again briefly considered, upon initial development of TNG's final episode, "All Good Things...". The scene in which it was to be used was soon omitted, though. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed., p. 301))
A transporter was originally not budgeted for inclusion aboard the Defiant-class, which was introduced at the start of DS9's third season. At one stage, however, Herman Zimmerman expected that, as stories and budgets warranted it, transporter facilities would later be added to the Defiant-class. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 97) A transporter for that class was indeed created, designed by Jim Martin. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 112) It debuted in season three's "Past Tense, Part I".
While Star Trek: Enterprise was in development, Executive Producer Brannon Braga initially wanted there to be no transporter on Enterprise NX-01, though this idea was disputed by executives at Paramount. "[He] thought transporter technology is in the future," explained André Bormanis, regarding Braga's viewpoint. "Well [...] this became a point of contention with, you know, the powers that be. The compromise we reached was that, okay, it's got a transporter, but it's experimental technology, and they don't really want to use it unless they absolutely have to. And we thought, in the 22nd century, it ought to be more challenging, or better yet, let's not introduce it in the first season. Maybe the second season, they'll upgrade the ship." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part I: Countdown", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
An even earlier transporter had to be depicted in the film Star Trek Beyond, for the 22nd century vessel USS Franklin. Doug Jung, who co-wrote the movie, once commented, "Back then, they didn't actually have Human transporters, you couldn't beam a Human up. So we had to put a line in where Scotty says, 'I made these recalibrations.'" 
Sets and props
The "psychedelic" back wall of the TOS transporter was actually made from reflective, translucent plastic known to musicians as "Drum Wrap" since it's commonly used to adorn the outer cylinders of drum sets. The same plastic later went on to be incorporated into intercoms regularly featured on Star Trek: Enterprise. ("Stigma" text commentary, ENT Season 2 DVD)
The TOS transporter had a "built-in top and bottom lighting setup for the beaming up/down effects," stated Robert Justman. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 17, p. 13) The transporter pads from TOS were simple Fresnel lenses. John Dwyer, a set decorator who worked on both TOS and TNG, explained, "In the original series, the lights in the platform under the round rings were curved lenses, polished in such a way as to make the light really bright, like you have in lighthouses; but they also use them in the bigger stage lights, and that's what these were." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 25) (See this Flash recreation from a scene deleted from "Mudd's Women" for an indication of the luminosity of a 10,000 watt Fresnel lens.) These components were the only part of the transporter set that remained when the set was redesigned for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Blu-ray)) The Next Generation also used the lenses as the units in the ceiling directly over the pads. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 78) Dwyer recounted, "[Production Designer] Herman [Zimmerman] said, 'Hey, that's a good idea; let's just keep it!' So we did." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 25) The same components were additionally included in the transporter of the USS Voyager in Star Trek: Voyager. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 78) Michael Okuda remembered, "One day during, I think, Voyager, I happened to be working in the catwalks above the set and I was looking at those lenses. Five of them looked yellowed and chipped, so I believe that they were from the original series. One of them looked a lot newer." (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Blu-ray))
The equipment transporter proposed for the Enterprise bridge of Star Trek: Phase II was actually built. One remnant of its construction, a square arrangement of four green lights, was incorporated into the Enterprise bridge of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The Regula I transporter in that film involved spotlights reflecting off a glitter ball behind the set, a simple way of achieving the effect of energy patterns on the transporter chamber's back wall. (text commentary, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (The Director's Edition) DVD)
The faint pattern on the insides of the TNG transporter took its inspiration from a sweater owned by Herman Zimmerman, who created the pattern while prepping TNG. Interested in doing something different from the psychedelic moire patterns of the original series' transporter but not having liked any of the patterns that he or his staff devised for potential use, a frustrated Zimmerman finally took off his sweater and declared, "Here, this is what we'll use!" The pattern was thereafter incorporated into the design of the Enterprise-D's transporter, which was reused as the Enterprise-A's transporter in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. (text commentary, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Special Edition) DVD)
For Star Trek Generations, the transporter of the Enterprise-D was given a new interior lighting scheme that included the addition of amber gels behind some of the upper transporter lenses from TOS. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 278) Because the original panels from the TNG transporter's back wall had somehow been damaged during preproduction on the film, they were replaced by new but virtually identical panels. (text commentary, Star Trek Generations (Special Edition) DVD)
At least one of the floor panels from the Enterprise-D transporter was reused as a serving tray in Quark's Bar, Grill, Gaming House and Holosuite Arcade in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Secrets of Quark's Bar, DS9 Season 1 special features)
According to Star Trek: Communicator, the Intrepid-class transporter incorporated "vertical edge-lit Plexiglas and spiky sonic foam lining the walls." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 111, p. 52) According to Kim actor Garrett Wang, the Intrepid-class transporter ceiling used on the set of Star Trek: Voyager was the original ceiling used on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (E! Inside Star Trek: Voyager, at 21 minutes)
The floor and ceiling of the transporter aboard the NX-class Enterprise were inspired by the fresnel lenses of TOS. ("Broken Bow" text commentary, ENT Season 1 DVD) Similarly, the sides of the ENT transporter were deliberately evocative of the walls of the TOS Enterprise transporter. (Broken Bow, paperback ed., p. 268)
The transporter is the only technology which is commonly used in Star Trek productions but which André Bormanis, at least as of 1996, deemed as "a real stretch" of the imagination. "The Heisenberg uncertainty principle makes it impossible to know the exact location and energy of any particular subatomic particle. Therefore, were you to disassemble a person as the transporter does, it may well be impossible to put them back together again," he explained. "We have reason to believe that this is because of some very basic physical facts about the universe and there's no way to get around that." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 76)
Although the catch phrase "Beam me up, Scotty" has worked its way into pop culture, the exact phrase itself has never been uttered in Star Trek. (Star Trek Encyclopedia (? ed., p. ?)) The closest usage to the phrase came in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when Kirk requests, "Scotty, beam me up." Similarly, in "This Side of Paradise", Kirk states, "Beam me up, Mr. Spock." Only two other instances have used unqualified references to the phrase "Beam me up" – "The Squire of Gothos" and "Time's Arrow".
According to Michael DeMeritt, the performers who portrayed persons who were beamed up were frequently thrilled to do so. He stated, "This is every actor's dream, whoever gets on Star Trek. 'Please, beam me up.'" (ENT: "North Star" audio commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD) Veteran Star Trek actor Vaughn Armstrong cited the transporter as his "favorite piece of Trek tech" and said, "I can't think of anything better." Similarly, when Pat Tallman was asked what her favorite technology from the franchise was, she included in her answer the rhetorical question, "Who doesn't wish for the transporter?" (Star Trek Monthly issue 90, pp. 31 & 32)
Initially familiarizing themselves with the workings of the transporter presented a challenge for some of DS9's principal cast members. As a result, one of several questions O'Brien actor Colm Meaney was asked by his fellow DS9 performers, he having had more Star Trek experience than them by having played O'Brien as a recurring character in TNG, was "How does the beam down work?" (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 23)
On one specific early occasion, Jake Sisko actor Cirroc Lofton enjoyed familiarizing himself with not only the transporter but also the sets of TNG and DS9. "No one was there. So, I started fiddling around with things and beaming myself up," he reminisced. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 5, p. 49)
Brannon Braga believed that using a transporter in ENT: "Vanishing Point" to explain an hallucination was "a great twist." However, some fans deemed it "a cop-out," in Braga's words. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, p. 26)
In Star Trek Adventure, where volunteers were picked from the audience, there was an optical illusion using lens distortion to simulate the transporter, which was then further edited to video for purchase after the show.
In The Worlds of the Federation (p. 16), the first transporting of a Human is said to have taken place in the transporter room of the USS Moscow.
A partial explanation for the difference between transporters between Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation is provided in the TNG novel Dark Mirror, where the Enterprise-D encounters a mirror universe where the Terran Empire continues into the 24th century; when discussing the original crossover, Chief Miles O'Brien notes that transporters in Kirk's era were essentially more powerful, but a lot less sophisticated, with people lacking knowledge of how some spatial anomalies would affect the system even if its sheer power tended to compensate for those shortcomings.
In the novel adaptation of "Broken Bow", it is said that, before the verb of "beam" had been accepted for describing the process of transporting, Starfleet had considered the words "scramble", "heat," "disassemble," and "spear," although "beam" had been considered the least frightening term.
An additional piece of transporter technology was developed in the alternate reality. Known as the "engineering transport tool (β)", or ETT, it consisted of a rifle that could tag objects or individuals and transport them short distances. In the 2013 video game Star Trek, James T. Kirk and Spock use this tool to bypass areas of the Frontier starbase that have been damaged by the Gorn's attack.