The transporter is a device capable of almost-instantaneously moving an object from one location to another. Transporters are able to dematerialize, transmit and reassemble an object. The act of transporting is often referred to as "beaming."
Following its invention by Emory Erickson in 2139, the NX-01 Enterprise was one of the first Starfleet starships to be equipped with a transporter authorized for transporting biological objects, though it was rarely used.
A typical transport sequence for the beam-down of a person begins with a coordinate lock during which the destination is verified and programmed,via the targeting scanners. Next, the lifeform to be beamed is scanned on the quantum level and simultaneously converted to a matter stream. This process is determined by an annular confinement beam (ACB). The matter stream is briefly stored in the pattern buffer tank and then transmitted through an emitter pad. Finally, the person is reassembled at the destination.
Personnel transporter rooms usually consist of an operation console, a transporter platform and an overhead molecular imaging scanner, primary energizing coils and phase transition coils. A pattern buffer with a biofilter is located on the deck below the room. The outer hull of a starship incorporates a number of emitter pads for the transporter beam. Personnel transporters work on the quantum level and employ Heisenberg compensators to enable secure transport of lifeforms. Biofilters that are built into the the transporter systems prevent dangerous microorganisms to board the ship.
Cargo transporters are larger scale versions of Personnel transporters and are optimized for the transport of inanimate objects, in case of an emergency cargo transporters can be reset to quantum level modus, making lifeform transport possible.
Transporters cannot be used while the deflector shield system of a ship is active, or a deflector shield is in place over the destination.
Transporters cannot be used while a ship is at warp speeds because of the severe spatial distortions caused by the warp field. (TNG: "The Schizoid Man") The exception to this rule is if both ships maintain the exact velocity (i.e. the warp field on both vessels must have the same integral value/factor). Failure to maintain the same velocities will result in severe loss of the ACB and pattern integrity. Transport at warp is highly dangerous and has been attempted safely only once. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I") Near-warp transport is also possible, but requires extensive adjustments to the transport procedure. Persons who have experienced this form of transport have remarked that there was a sensation of being merged with an inanimate object briefly before the transporter beam reassembled them. (TNG: "The Schizoid Man")
The 24th century transporter maximum range is about 40,000 km., though a special type of transport, called subspace transport can beam over several lightyears. Many 24th century starships are equipped with an emergency transporter system, but these only have a range of at best ten kilometers. (VGR: "Future's End, Part I").
Connecting two transporters
When necessary transporters can be bridged. This means that two transporters can be connected to each other in the event beaming is not possible due to ionic or some other type of interference. The transport duration is twice as long and the sequence differs from a normal transport. First a remote link to the other transporter has to be established then the system interlock needs to be engaged and the pattern buffers of both transporters are synchronized. When the phase transition coils are in stand-by modus energizing can commence. A side-effect of this form of transport might be that the person who is beamed might feel a slight tingling due to static. (TNG:"Realm of Fear")
Removing microbes who exists as energy and matter
- Suspend the person in mid-transport at the point where matter will loose its cohesion at this time molecules will begin to emit nucleonic particles and the biofilter can be used to scan for the microbe pattern. This procedure needs to be performed within thirty to fourty seconds upon energizing. After fifteen seconds into the procedure the person might feel light-headed.
- Transporter sequence
- Initialize pattern buffer, when stand-by energize and at sixty percent molecular resolution engage static mode. Start the biofilter scan and keep the molecular resolution above fifty percent, if this is not the case abort procedure or the persons pattern is lost. When there is difficulty in identifing the microbe pattern increase the phase-transition frequency. When pattern found program the biofilter, execute and re-materialize the person. (TNG:"Realm of Fear")
Though transporters are a quite safe way to get from one point to another there are still cases of transporter accidents:
- TOS: "The Enemy Within"
- TOS: "Mirror, Mirror"
- TOS: "The Tholian Web"
- TNG: "Second Chances"
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Because of these accidents, some people are suffering from transporter phobia.