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The plasma phaser was still on the drawing board in late 2366. It was projected that this, and other weapons designed to defend against the Borg, would take eighteen to twenty-four months to be ready.
While preparing to face an imminent Borg invasion in that year, Lieutenant Commander Shelby attempted to suggest modifying the plasma phaser design to adapt it to the existing technologies aboard the USS Enterprise-D. She was stopped by Commander William T. Riker, who ended discussion for that night. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")