Electromagnetic pulse

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The term electromagnetic pulse (sometimes abbreviated EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation that results from an explosion (usually from the detonation of a nuclear weapon) and/or a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field. The resulting rapidly changing electric fields or magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.

In military terminology, a nuclear bomb detonated hundreds of kilometers above the Earth's surface is known as a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) device. Nuclear electromagnetic pulse has three distinct time components that result from different physical phenomena. Effects of a HEMP device depend on a very large number of factors, including the altitude of the detonation, energy yield, gamma ray output, interactions with the Earth's magnetic field, and electromagnetic shielding of targets.



The fact that an electromagnetic pulse is produced by a nuclear explosion was known since the earliest days of nuclear weapons testing, but the magnitude of the EMP and the significance of its effects were not realized for some time.[1]

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