Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP), also sometimes called a transient electromagnetic disturbance, is a short burst of electromagnetic energy. Such a pulse’s origin may be a natural occurrence or human-made and can occur as a radiated, electric, or magnetic field or a conducted electric current, depending on the source.
EMP interference is generally disruptive or damaging to electronic equipment, and at higher energy levels a powerful EMP event such as a lightning strike can damage physical objects such as buildings and aircraft structures. The management of EMP effects is an important branch of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) engineering.
Weapons have been developed to deliver the damaging effects of high-energy EMP. According to research from the United States Department of Homeland Security, EMP weapons have the potential to disrupt unprotected critical infrastructure within the United States and could impact millions over large parts of the country. There is concern about the EMP threat, but no accurate prediction on how many people will face massive damages from this attack.
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