E1 vs E2 vs E3, Oh My!

When a Nuclear Weapon is detonated in the atmosphere it produces Gamma Radiation which ionizes atoms in the upper atmosphere.  This is generally referred to as an Electromagnetic Pulse.  There are 3 Primary Energy Pulses related to an Electromagnetic Pulse, called the E1, E2 and E3 .  In this article we will look at and distinguish the differences between the types of energy pulses created during an Electromagnetic Pulse or EMP.


E1 Pulse – Like a thief in the night…

The E1 pulse is the very fast component of nuclear EMP.  E1 is a brief but intense electromagnetic field that induces high voltages in electrical conductors.  E1 causes most of its damage by causing electrical breakdown voltages to be exceeded.  E1 can destroy computers and communications equipment and it changes too quickly ( several nanoseconds) for ordinary surge protectors to provide effective protection from it.  Fast-acting surge protectors (acting in less than 1-10 nanoseconds) will block the E1 pulse, like those produced by www.empshield.com of Burlington, Kansas.

E1 energy is produced when gamma radiation from the nuclear detonation ionizes or strips atoms in the upper atmosphere. This is known as the Compton Effect and the resulting current is called the “Compton current”. The electrons travel in a generally downward direction at relativistic speeds or close to light speeds.  In the absence of a magnetic field, this would produce a large, radial pulse of electric current propagating outward from the burst location confined to the source region or the region over which the gamma photons are attenuated.  In other words, it primarily moves and affects things within line of sight up to a certain distance, depending on the strength of the pulse.


E2 Pulse – Not to fast, not to slow…

The E2 component is generated by scattered gamma rays and inelastic gammas produced by neutrons. This E2 component is an “intermediate time” pulse that, by IEC or International Electrotechnical Commission definition, lasts from about one microsecond to one second after the explosion. E2 has many similarities to lightning, although lightning-induced E2 may be considerably larger than a nuclear E2.

Because of the similarities and the widespread use of lightning protection technology, E2 is generally considered to be the easiest to protect against, especially with a whole home, fast acting surge suppression system.  According to the United States EMP Commission, the main problem with protecting against E2 is that it immediately follows E1, which may have damaged the devices that would normally protect against E2.

The EMP Commission Resilience Report released in 2019 states, “In general, it would not be an issue for critical infrastructure systems since they have existing protective measures for defense against occasional lightning strikes. The most significant risk is synergistic, because the E2 component follows a small fraction of a second after the first component’s insult, which can impair or destroy many protective and control features. The energy associated with the second component thus may be allowed to pass into and damage systems”.



E3 Pulse – The pulse that just wouldn’t quit…

The E3 component is very different from the other two major components of nuclear EMP.   The E3 component of the pulse is a relatively very slow pulse, lasting from seconds to potentially hours or even days and is caused by the nuclear detonation disrupting the Earth’s magnetic field, followed by the restoration of the magnetic field back to its natural place.   The E3 component has similarities to a geomagnetic storm caused by a very severe solar coronal mass ejection (CME).  Like a geomagnetic storm, E3 can produce geomagnetically induced currents in long electrical conductors, like an electrical power grid, which can then damage or destroy components such as power lines and transformers. 

These currents are often called quasi-DC currents because they resemble the direct current from a battery more than what most people think of as an electrical pulse.  Nearly all the damage from E3 in modern systems occurs to the AC power grid, which is generally not designed to handle direct currents, especially in critical devices such as power transformers.

Because of the similarity between solar-induced geomagnetic storms and nuclear E3, it has become common to refer to solar-induced geomagnetic storms as “solar EMP”.   At ground level, however, solar EMP is not known to produce an E1 or E2 component. 


Not All Surge Protectors are Created Equal

Companies like EMP Shield LLC are leading the industry in Research, Development and Production of products that allow us to protect our fragile electrical transmission lines, home electrical systems, vehicles, communications equipment and alternative energy systems.  Not only have they made this technology available to the public, but they also offer one of the largest compendiums of research and knowledge regarding EMP/HEMP/CME free of charge on their website https://empshield.com/.

What is an EMP Shield?

EMP Shield is the worlds military tested  EMP protection technology for an entire home and vehicle electrical system.

Built to exceed military standards (MIL-STD-188-125-1), EMP Shield is also one of the worlds fastest whole home surge protectors operating in less than 1 billionth of a second.

EMP Shield is designed to protect an entire home from Lightning, CME (coronal mass ejection, power surges, and an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Proven and tested at Keystone Compliance, a Federally approved Department of Defense (DOD) testing facility, Our EMP Shield was struck with over 40x EMP strikes with no impact to the device.

How Does It Work?

The EMP Shield can see and protect all the electronics and equipment connected to your electrical system.

This is accomplished by shunting (shorting) the over voltage coming in from the Grid and the voltage surges that are collected within your home.

Whether the electrons are collected within your home or are attempting to come into your electrical system from outside the home (the grid), the EMP Shield will see the surge and protect your electrical system.  The EMP Shield reacts in less than 1 billionth of a second. Since the shunting is completed incredibly fast, the over voltage is drained away from the equipment before the voltage can rise high enough to damage any equipment. We call this new technology SightSpeed™