With regard to starship systematics a particle accelerator cannon or beam refers to a high energy weapon that pummels targets with designed neutron particles. These “sticky” neutrons have an extended gluon field allowing them to attach to almost any nuclei. Atoms in the path of this beam will quickly gain neutrons until the atom becomes unstable and splits. Although, any neutrons released from this split no longer have the sticky quality. Depending on the target material this atom splitting may induce a nuclear chain reaction or may only cause a discrete burst of energy and a loss of molecular cohesion.
The Particle Accelerator Cannon: A 100 Word Piece of Sci-Fi Minutia
A brief explanation of a "classic" Science Fiction weapon.