I just learned about this by watching Star Trek: Nemesis. See, it's this radiation whose existence is only hypothetical, even though Geordi LaFarge knows how to detect it using plain old standard-issue Starfleet detectors (detect-ores), and research on it was outlawed by the Federation because it has the ability to - shiver! - destroy organic matter at the subatomic level!
Which leads me to wonder why it wouldn't destroy any matter at the subatomic level, because at that level, there's no difference. But what do I know? I didn't graduate from the prestigious Engineering School at Starfleet Academy with an advanced degree in technobabble.