OverviewAtomics (abbreviated term for nuclear powered weapons) were devices of mass destruction. Use of them was restricted by the "Great Convention", who permitted their use solely for repelling hypothetical "alien invasions". The use of such weapons against humans was considered an infamy, punishable by retribution from forces of the Imperium and the combined might of the other Great Houses in order to destroy the offender and their faction. Atomcs included such mundane devices as fission and fusion weapons. They also included an exotic arm known as a "stone burner", which emitted "J radiation" that caused blindness, and could "burn" down to the core of a planet, shattering it and sending planetoid fragments out into space. Most Great Houses maintained a supply of such devices. As aforementioned, the use of these devices was governed by the Great Convention.
Notable UsesPaul Atreides deployed one of the House Atriedes Atomics against the Shield Wall that guarded the Emperor's ship and the rest of Arrakeen from his force of wormborne Fedaykin. As such, Paul narrowly avoided the wrath of the Great Houses since he deployed the arm against a natural obstacle and not against human beings.
The destruction of Earth during the Butlerian Jihad and the attack by a renegade House against Salusa Secundus, which at the time housed the capital of the Imperium, were also committed with atomics.