Dilithium

From Academic Kids

This article is about the fictitious substance. There is also a rock formation in Owens River Gorge in California called The Dilithium Crystal.

Dilithium is a fictional crystalline mineral in the universe of Star Trek. A beam of matter and antimatter colliding in dilithium generates a plasma that is used to power the warp drives that allow starships to travel faster than light. This function of dilithium was officially established with the Star Trek: The Next Generation series; in earlier works its properties were not clearly defined.

In the original series, dilithium crystals occurred only naturally, making the search for them a major plot element for a number of stories. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Spock discovered a method of recrystallizing dilithium that allowed the crew to regenerate the crystals on board their captured Klingon Bird-of-prey. This involved using 20th century fission reactors to collect high-energy photons which would cause the crystals to regenerate.

To avoid plots based on searches for dilithium crystals, the backstory of The Next Generation has dilithium synthesized artificially. These crystals can also be recrystallized using technology that had been developed during the time between the original series movies and the events of The Next Generation.

It has been established that a large amount of dilithium can cause a planet to become geologically unstable, leading to a number of planets that had broken apart. The crew of the Enterprise-D found a method of eliminating the dilithium from such planets in order to save them.

Neither dilithium nor trilithium exist in the real world, but are suggestive of an as yet undiscovered form of lithium.


In the computer game nethack, dilithium crystals are the most valuable gemstone you can find. They are white, and have the same hardness as worthless glass.

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