Zero Point Module

From Stargate Wiki

Zero Point Module
Production information


Technical specifications

Power source

Made of

Crystal-like material

Power source

Zero-point energy


"It's kind of like a miniature universe in a bottle."
Rodney McKay

A Zero Point Module, commonly abbreviated to ZPM and also known as a Potentia, is an Ancient clean energy power source, one of their most advanced and powerful technologies and a highly coveted device among several races in both the Milky Way and Pegasus galaxies.



ZPM's exist as a collection of colored crystals which are inserted into a unit that connects them to other technology such as Drone weapon launchers, shield generators or Stargates. They have a circular base which has a large red crystal on the top which glows red when active, the entire ZPM also glows. It is apparent that either end of the ZPM can supply power. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2", ATL: "Rising", "Childhood's End")

A powered ZPM


A ZPM is essentially a miniature universe in a bottle, it is an artificial self-contained region of sub-space time which draws an immense amount of zero-point energy from this subspace. Once the region of subspace has reached maximum entropy, it collapses. (ATL: "Trinity")


Once the ZPM reaches maximum entropy, the energy within is exhausted and is incapable of being used again. Energy is dependent on the amount being extracted, a ZPM can have its entire energy reserve drained in several seconds or supply a powerful, constant stream of energy. (ATL: "McKay and Mrs. Miller")


The ZPM's are durable enough to supply immense energy for long periods of time under extreme conditions. A single ZPM can supply power to Atlantis' shield against a barrage of hive ship weapons for several hours. Being made of a crystal-like material ZPM's are relatively fragile and are easily broken. The crystalline material can be shattered or severely damaged if handle incorrectly. (ATL: "Rising", "Childhood's End", "Home", "The Siege, Part 3")


Ancient use

"I didn't believe my eyes: three ZPMs right in front of me."
Elizabeth Weir

The creators of the ZPM's, the Ancients, installed these power sources in many of their outposts in both the Milky Way and Pegasus galaxies such as Terra Atlantus, Atlantis and the City of M7G-677. The ZPM's were much more commonplace, due to the fact that the Ancients were capable of creating more, as were the Asurans. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2", "Zero Hour")

In Pegasus, Atlantis was powered by three ZPM's, they also powered the Tower and were considered valuable artefacts by the Human populations in the galaxy who considered the Ancients as god-like. During the Lantean-Wraith war many of the Aurora-class warships were powered by ZPM's, during which many were also commandeered by the Wraith and taken to used in a Wraith Cloning facility. (ATL: "Rising", "The Tower", "The Return, Part 1", "Spoils of War")

The Ancients also entrusted a sect of Humans, the Brotherhood of the Fifteen to guard a Zero Point Module for them. This ZPM was hidden away for over 10,000 years before the Atlantis expedition helped the Daganians locate it, however the Daganians, who had started a new brotherhood, took the ZPM. (ATL: "The Brotherhood")


A tainted ZPM

Sometime several thousand years ago, the Goa'uld Ra found one of the ZPM's but never discovered its true purpose merely using it as a religious relic. It was taken by SG-1 who had used a time-traveling Puddle Jumper to travel back in time. Sometime later, the System Lord Camulus found an Ancient outpost being powered by a ZPM, however he was unable to discover the purpose of the outpost, so he tainted the ZPM with a foreign material that would cause the ZPM to explode if used. (SG1: "Moebius, Part 1", "Zero Hour")


The Tau'ri came across their first ZPM after Col. O'Neill once again had the entire repository of Ancient knowledge downloaded into his mind, in an attempt to find the Lost City, locate powerful weapons and defeat Anubis. SG-1 traveled to Proclarush Taonas and took the charged ZPM there and used it to power the Ancient weapons platform in Antarctica, this ZPM was then used to dial Atlantis and send the Atlantis expedition. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2", ATL: "Rising")

They later were told of the location of another ZPM however the Camulus had tainted this one and it was unable to be used, its first test ended in disaster[1]. SG-1 traveled back in time 5,000 years and stole a ZPM from Ra while he was on Earth. This ZPM was hidden away in a tomb to be found in the future. The Atlantis expedition found a ZPM on M7G-677 however this was being used to power an electromagnetic field that stopped the Wraith from culling the young population on the planet. The Genii also had a depleted ZPM stored away in their archives for several years, not knowing what it was. (SG1: "Zero Hour", "Moebius, Part 1", "Moebius, Part 2", ATL: "Childhood's End", "Coup D'etat")

Three Asuran ZPM's

Traveling to Asuras, the expedition found the Asurans who had many ZPM's, being able to make their own, however their intention was to destroy Atlantis instead of helping the expedition. The ZPM recovered from Ra was completely depleted sending an alternate McKay back to his reality. Sometime later the Asurans overtook the city, once they were removed the expedition found themselves with three ZPM's. One was kept for the city, two were sent back to Earth to power the weapons platform and to power the Odyssey against the Ori. (ATL: "Progeny", "McKay and Mrs. Miller", "The Return, Part 2", "Echoes")

The expeditions ZPM was again drained fleeing from Lantea and the only way to save the city was to travel to Asuras and steal one of theirs. Discovering that a super powered hive ship was on its way to Earth, the expedition, with help from Todd, managed to obtain two more ZPM's to fully power the city and take it back to Earth to stop the Wraith. (ATL: "First Strike", "Adrift", "Lifeline", "Enemy at the Gate")


Zero Point Module's are incredibly valuable for the Wraith as power generation is the Achilles heel of their technology. During the Lantean-Wraith war the lanteans were overconfident in their technology and sent their ships deeper and deeper into Wraith territory where they were overwhelmed and commandeered by the Wraith. Eventually they managed to get three ZPM's and used them to power a Wraith Cloning facility.

10,000 years later, during the Battle of Asuras, Todd managed to gain at least four ZPM's before the planet erupted. At least one of these ZPM's were used to power the cloning facility to replenish lost numbers and give one faction greater power. The facility, and the ZPM, were destroyed. (ATL: "Spoils of War")

Over a year later, the Atlantis expedition gained two more ZPM's from Todd after he went to them for help concerning his underling, Kenny, who had mutinied against him and commandeered a hive ship which had been modified to work with at least one ZPM, making it significantly more powerful. (ATL: "Enemy at the Gate")

Known ZPM's

So far there have been 23 ZPM's encountered built by both the Ancients and the Asurans:
Todd with one of the stolen ZPM's


  • ZPM is often pronounced as "ZedPM" by Dr. Rodney McKay, who is Canadian, while the other characters pronounce it as "ZeePM".
  • Refered to as a Zero Point Module by the Tau'ri, the Ancients and Asurans gave no proper name when encountered. The only other name given is Potentia used by the Daganians and others in the Pegasus galaxy.

See Also.gifSee Also


  1. June 14, 2010 entry on Joseph Mallozzi's blog