Electromagnetic pulse

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An electromagnetic pulse (often abbreviated EMP) is a sudden broadband burst of electromagnetic radiation. Such a pulse can be created by the detonation of a nuclear weapon. An electromagnetic pulse can overload and destroy electronic devices that don't have sufficient shielding.

Electromagnetic Pulse in Science Fiction

EMP weapons are fairly common in science fiction as a method of disabling electronic equipment. The ion cannons used in Star Wars are essentially directed EMP weapons.

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