Tom Kalbfus said:
To give another example antimatter, which is TL 17 would require huge radiator fins, in a world without reactionless drives, antimatter would be the science fiction fuel of choice, it is very easy to get antimatter to react with matter, no heating required. I actually think if we had a source of antimatter, building a matter/antimatter reactor wouldn't be that hard. I think TL 17 should be in the production of massive quantities of antimatter. In laboratories today, we have gotten very small amounts of antimatter to react with matter without any problems, preventing that from happening until you want it to is the hard part actually. I think there should be rules for running TL 17 jump drives on antimatter instead of hydrogen.
As antimatter won't exist in nature (in any usable quantity) it has to be created. This will take more energy than is gained when mixed with matter (see Laws of Thermodynamics.) Therefore, "antimatter power plants" would be more accurately termed Power storage units. They wouldn't be sources of power. More like a rechargeable battery. You first generate the electricity and charge the battery for later use...
For a spaceship, it doesn't really matter. The antimatter is created by the reverse of a matter/antimatter annihilation reaction, two high energy photons collide creating a particle-anti-partical pair, such as an electron and positron, a proton and anti-proton, or a neutron and anti-neutron. Put these particles together and you can make anti-atoms, the easiest anti-atom to make is anti-hydrogen. To make anti-helium, you need to do anti-proton/anti-proton fusion, I believe fusing anti-helium nuclei will produce anti-carbon. Anti-carbon can be made into tanks that hold liquefied anti-hydrogen, the containment problems are simplified so long as you can manipulate the anti-carbon tank without touching it, such as by using electric and magnetic fields. For propelling a spaceship, where the antimatter came from isn't so important, presumably a power plant of another kind powers the antimatter creation, the antimatter is stored, sold, and used to power a spaceship, the big advantage is that antimatter converts 100% of its mass plus 100% of an equal amount of matter to energy, so it is an extremely light weight and powerful fuel, the equivalent amount of fusion fuel would weigh 100 times as much. In the real world, antimatter could be used to fuel relativistic multi-stage rockets, the hard part is creating all that antimatter. but supposedly by TL17 the creation of antimatter becomes economic and competitive with fusion in spacecraft.
I believe further down the line is matter transporters. My book lists Matter transporters as Tech Level 16. I think matter transporters would need a sending booth and a receiving booth, rather than the way it is in Star Trek.㖠