Dilithium crystals

Crystals in the frame

The dilithium articulation frame holds the dilithium in alignment with the colliding matter/antimatter stream and is housed inside the matter-antimatter reaction assembly. The frame is housed behind the dilithium chamber hatch. (TNG: "Skin of Evil", "The Drumhead")

In 2366, Geordi La Forge, along with a holographic program that included Doctor Leah Brahms' personality, made an experimental field modification to the USS Enterprise-D frame which re-oriented the crystal to adjust the lattice structure. This was contrary to Starfleet regulations, but it worked in a crisis situation. Later, Doctor Leah Brahms inspected the Enterprise's frame in 2367 and discovered the modification, surprised to see a modification that would be in the next class starship. La Forge did not take full credit. (TNG: "Booby Trap", "Galaxy's Child")

The frame suspends the dilithum in the reaction chamber using a field effect to keep the crystal faces in alignment with the matter/antimatter streams. The correct alignment of the crystal faces and planes maximizes the efficiency of the plasma conversion that takes place. By the 2360s, the theta-matrix compositor was integrated with the articulation frame, allowing recrystallization to take place in the warp core with the core online. (TNG: "Relics")

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