The Sub-Electron Amplifier is a crystal that can generate electricity.
Many years after Shere Khan's rise to power as head of Khan Industries, Chairman Khan decided to hold an important meeting with his cabinet of executives. His proposal was a highly intriguing one — to divert resources from all divisions of Khan Industries and Khan Enterprises to the development of a brand-new, ultra top-secret, super-efficient power source to run his businesses.
But the demands were much greater than just that. Shere Khan demanded a power source that was limitless; one that never deteriorated with use but could be used indefinitely. Not only would this reduce business expenses, but it would also benefit the new Khan Power division, whose rapid growth begged for such an innovation. Skeptics and scoffers though they might have been, Khan's chief executives knew their chairman — Shere Khan always got what he wanted.
To that end, Khan Industries allocated a staggering amount of funds and manpower to begin development on this highly top-secret project. Several years passed in intensive labor and research conducted by the brightest scientists in Khan's employ. The finished product — the result of millions of dollars worth of time and capital — exceeded anyone's wildest expectations.
Khan's creation is a miracle of modern science, almost magical in its far cry from the state of modern technology. It is scientifically termed a "Sub-Electron Amplifier", designed to excite the power levels of elementary particles far beyond their normal capacity. The result is a massive discharge of pure energy with no change whatsoever in the composition of the stone itself. This phenomenon makes the sub-electron amplifier the ultimate power source — one that never drains or depletes.
However, such awesome power is useless if it cannot be controlled safely without risk of energy spills or overloads. The faceted design of the stone, though aesthetically pleasing, is shaped according to exact scientific specifications that prevent it from generating energy spontaneously.
Despite the sub-electron amplifier's outward resemblance to a jewel, its actual atomic composition differs totally from that of precious gems. A person with a trained eye can tell the difference, but only one who understands the stone's true purpose can comprehend its astronomical value.
After the final tests on the sub-electron amplifier were successfully completed, the stone was to be transported to Khan Tower in Cape Suzette for a personal inspection by Shere Khan himself. Khan Flight 127 — the plane carrying the stone — never reached its destination. Hijacked by Air Pirates en-route to Cape Suzette, the pilot had no choice but to hand over the sub-electron amplifier to Don Karnage and his men. The stone changed hands quite a few times over the next couple of days, but it was ultimately reclaimed by the Pirates as the power source for their infamous lightning gun during the historic Attack on Cape Suzette.
Unfortunately, when the pirate weapon was knocked off its platform by the efforts of a heroic pilot named Baloo, the stone went down with it. Plunged into the Cape Suzette bay, the sub-electron amplifier's contact with the water produced a volatile chain reaction that obliterated the Lightning Gun as well as the stone itself.
Known to only a few of the most learned and intelligent scientific minds in the world (and understood by even fewer), the process called sub-electron amplification is a fascinating and equally baffling miracle of science. Even Shere Khan's own researchers, responsible for development of a new limitless power technology, could little grasp what they had accomplished. To comprehend the enormous value of their efforts, one must first have a basic understanding of sub-electron amplification.
Doctor Debolt, lead scientist of the Khan project, has identified the basic principles that govern sub-electron amplification. The atomic-particle structure of the stone — a specially composed electrical alloy developed by Khan's scientists — consists of a certain balance of electrons and ion particles. The particles within the stone, while relatively inactive, possess a certain degree of instability that can be easily triggered by outside impulses.
Sub-electron amplification begins when an external force stimulates the particles into motion. Stimulation of the particles modifies the stone's internal energy to stimulate even more particles. In milliseconds, within the atomic structure of the stone, the mutual acceleration of the particles causes them to reach high levels of activity that build sub-electron particles to a supercharged or amplified state. Electrical discharge occurs when another object touches the stone. Upon discharge of the energy, the sub-electron particles equalize and the stone returns to its original state.
This process can be triggered in two ways. A sharp impact to the stone, such as bouncing it off the floor, causes vibrations that excite the particles and begin sub-electron amplification. This method produces a great deal of unstable energy which dissipates over a period of time if not discharged. Electrical stimulation, however, involves running a fairly small current through the stone from pole to pole. Not only does electrical stimulation provide a more controllable way of generating power, but the priming current can be calibrated so that the desired level of electricity is released by the stone upon discharge.
When dormant, the stone can be handled with bare hands. However, it is dangerous to touch the stone bare-handed when it is glowing — this usually indicates that the stone is carrying a charge or that sub-electron amplification is taking place. If stimulation ceases and discharge does not occur, the stone will slowly dissipate the energy it contains. The safest way for one to prevent accidental electric shock is to wear rubber gloves when handling the stone. For transport purposes, the stone should be stored in containers made of non-electroconductive materials (such as wood) lined with an insulating layer.
Certain substances can be potentially hazardous to the stone — the most devastating of which is water. Immersion in water excites the particles to a hyperactive energy state. This causes a freak chain reaction in which massive amounts of pure energy are generated, resulting in a violent explosion that obliterates the stone and anything nearby.