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Electronic Bombs

Earlier this year I posted an article about America's new secret weapon--high power microwave (HPM) weapons. As their name suggests, HPMs generate an intense "blast" of electromagnetic waves in the microwave frequency band (hundreds of megahertz to tens of gigahertz) that is strong enough to overload electrical circuitry. Most types of matter are transparent to microwaves, but metallic conductors, like those found in metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS), metal-semiconductor, and bipolar devices, strongly absorb them, which in turn heats the material. An HPM weapon can induce currents large enough to melt circuitry. But even less intense bursts can temporarily disrupt electrical equipment or permanently damage ICs, causing them to fail minutes, days, or even weeks later.

If this topic interests you at all then this is the article for you as it is chock full of the science behing the technology and its future implications.

Spectrum IEEE November 2003

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