Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
The process of dilithium recrystalization was a method of optimizing molecules of the element dilithium into efficient crystal organization, allowing pieces of degraded dilithium to be arranged in structures usable to technology as energy-focus components.
History and specificsEdit
The process of dilithium recrystalization through the use of a dilithium incubator was theorized and proven by Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po, a member of the royal family of Xahea in the late 2250s decade. She saw the process as necessary to protect her homeworld from the ravages of mining, as the Xaheans were eager to be involved in the Federation economy and she was concerned about the potential of damage to Xahea's ecosystem. Before her coronation as Queen of Xahea, Po ran away for a brief period of time in the year 2257, causing the Federation to seek her out in order to protect their stake in investing in the technology. (Short Treks episode: "Runaway")
By the 2280s, Federation Starfleet personnel still considered dilithium recrystalization to be a theoretical pursuit at best. When the Klingon bird-of-prey HMS Bounty commandeered by Admiral James T. Kirk was forced to time travel to the 20th century, Captain Montgomery Scott reported their dilithium had begun to decrystalize, leading Scott and Spock to devise a plan to harvest high-energy photons from a nuclear fission reactor in order to jury-rig a dilithium recrystalization experiement. The plan worked after Nyota Uhura and Pavel Chekov retrieved particle output from aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: The Voyage Home)
In the 24th century, the use of such techniques to recrystallize dilithium within a warp core's dilithium articulation frame was in full use. When Captain Scott toured the USS Enterprise-D in 2369, he was concerned about the stress the intermix chamber was putting on the dilithium assembly, but Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge informed him that the crystals could be recomposited directly within the articulation frame. (TNG episode & novelization: Relics)