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The energy emissions of pulse phasers were stored in a magnetic field, allowing them to coalesce and agitate to higher energy states. The field was then redirected, forcing the burst of phaser energy toward the target. This process was repeated rapidly using multiple magnetic field generators, and the result was a stream of phased energy projectiles. Although the range of such a weapon was much less than the standard phaser due to rapid dissipation, from close range the pulse phaser could do more damage than most phaser types. (TNG video game: Starfleet Command III)
One of the first type of Starfleet vessels to be equipped with pulse phasers were the Defiant-class. They were developed at Starfleet's Tokyo R&D facilty. Pulse phasers were also installed aboard some starbases and weapon platforms by the mid-2370s. (DS9 episode: "The Search, Part I"; TNG video games: Armada, Armada II; Star Trek: The Magazine vol. 1, Issue 6: "Briefing: U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205")