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ISNAP Seminars - Abstracts 2016 Spring


Topic: 89Zr (n,γ) cross sections from a surrogate reaction approach

Dr. Shuya Ota ( Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ) / January 18, 2016

The surrogate reaction approach is an indirect method for determining nuclear reaction cross sections which cannot be measured directly or predicted reliably. While recent studies demonstrated the validity of the approach for studying fission cross sections of short-lived actinides, its applicability for radiative neutron capture reactions ((n,γ)) is still under investigation. We studied the decay of excited 90Zr nuclei produced by 90Zr(p,p'), 91Zr(p,d), and 92Zr(p,t) surrogate reactions, respectively, in order to study the effect of the production mechanism on the decay of a compound nucleus and to infer the 89Zr(n,γ) cross sections. The experiments were carried out at the K150 Cyclotron facility at Texas A&M University with a 28.5-MeV proton beam. The reaction deuterons were measured at forward angles of 25-60 with the STARS array of three segmented Micron S2 silicon detectors. The compound nuclei with energies up to 8 MeV above the neutron separation thresholds were populated. The coincident γ-rays were measured with the Livermore Texas Richmond (LiTeR) array of five Compton-suppressed HPGe clover detectors. We will present results of emission probabilities from the different three reactions, which showed the 90Zr(p,p') reaction produces fewer γ rays associated with transitions involving high spin states (J = 6-8 hbar) than the other two reactions, suggesting that inelastic scattering preferentially populates states in 90Zr that have lower spins than those populated in the transfer reactions investigated. Theoretical approaches to obtain the 89Zr(n,γ) cross sections from these emission probabilities will be also discussed.


Topic: Special Nuclear Seminar:
Nucleosynthesis in Type I X-ray Bursts: Exploring the αρ-Process through High Precision (ρ,t) Measurements

Mr. Alexander Long ( University of Notre Dame ) / January 22, 2016

Shortly after their discovery in 1979, x-ray bursts were determined to be thermonuclear runaways occurring on the surface of neutron stars in binary systems with H/He rich companion stars. During these explosive events thermonuclear burning is driven by the αρ-process (a sequential series of (α,ρ) and (p,γ) reactions along the proton rich side within the sd-shell nuclei), and the rp-process (a series of (p,γ) and β+-decays riding along the proton drip line up the A = 100 mass region). Current x-ray burst sensitivity studies have revealed that certain (α,ρ) reactions along the αρ-process have a direct influence on the early rise-time structure of x-ray burst light curves.

Lacking experimental data, most of these (α,ρ) stellar rates have been calculated using statistical models, such as Hauser-Feshbach. Recently, it has been pointed out that the level density in many of the compound nuclei along the αρ-process may be too low to support this statistical approach, resulting in over predictions of stellar (α,ρ) rates used in x-ray burst models.

In this talk, I will discuss the recent efforts by our group at Notre Dame in trying to indirectly measure important (α,ρ) reaction rates through high precision (p,t) reaction measurements. More specifically, I will present results from our latest (p,t) experiment at iThemba LABS, where we indirectly measure the 26Si(α,ρ) and 34Ar(α,ρ) reaction rates by investigating α-unbound states in the compound nuclei 30S and 38Ca, respectively.


Topic: Direct Measurements of the 23Na(ρ,γ)24Mg Cross Section Underground at LUNA

Mr. Axel Boeltzig ( Gran Sasso Science Institute L'Aquila, Italy ) / January 25, 2016

Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars play a fundamental role in the determination of the observed abundances of light mass elements. One limiting factor for the uncertainty of AGB model predictions is the poor knowledge of the cross sections of the relevant proton capture reactions, in particular for the yield of light elements.

The reaction 23Na(ρ,γ)24Mg links the NeNa and the MgAl cycles of stellar burning. The reaction rate in AGB star scenarios is influenced significantly by the resonance of this reaction at 138 keV (assuming the most recent upper limit or value for the resonance strength from a possible observation of this resonance), the non-resonant cross section and the tails of resonances at higher energies. To constrain the reaction rate, cross section measurements over a larger energy window are required, leading to a global analysis of all available data.

Current measurements at LUNA, the Laboratory Underground for Nuclear Astrophysics, aim at a direct observation of the 138 keV resonance with a segmented bismuth germanium oxide detector, as well as the measurement of the non-resonant cross section and additional information with a High-Purity Germanium detector for low proton energies up to 400 keV.

High energy measurements up to above 1 MeV are planned at NSL to complement this data; first data taking will start soon. The current status of the experimental efforts will be presented, covering the setup and the preliminary results of measurements at LUNA as well as planned measurements at NSL.


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Topic: (α,ρ) reaction Measurements with ANASEN

Mr. Kevin Macon ( Louisiana State University ) / February 1, 2016

Type I X-ray bursts are the most common stellar explosions in the Galaxy, occurring on the surface of neutron stars in binary systems. Slow (α,ρ) reactions on certain Tz = (Z-N)/2 = +1 nuclei influence energy generation in the explosion and the time evolution of the system. We are developing and applying creative new techniques to better determine reactions that are important in stellar explosions like X-ray bursts. The principle challenge in directly measuring (α,ρ) reactions is to construct a thick helium gas target to achieve high reaction yields with maintaining good energy resolution. The Array for Nuclear Astrophysics and Structure with Exotic Nuclei (ANASEN) is an active-target/detector which is designed for direct measurements of (α,ρ) reactions with maximum sensitivity, allowing measurements with radioactive ion beam intensities of 105 ions/s. I will report on the development of ANASEN and the initial experimental campaigns in addition to highlighting other technical developments and experimental results.


Topic: Examining nuclear shell structure effects on isoscalar giant monopole resonance and nuclear
           incompressibility near A~90

Dr. Yogesh Gupta ( University of Notre Dame ) / February 8, 2016

Nuclear incompressibility is a fundamental quantity characterizing the equation of state (EOS) of nuclear matter. Experimentally, it may be determined from the compressional "breathing mode" of nuclear density oscillation, the isoscalar giant monopole resonance (ISGMR) in finite nuclei. Analyses of the ISGMR have implied that the determination of nuclear incompressibility is independent of the choice of the nucleus, provided that approximately 100% energy weighted sum rule (EWSR) fraction is exhausted in the ISGMR peak; this condition is satisfied for sufficiently heavy nuclei (A> 90).

In a recent work from Texas A & M group, it was claimed that the ISGMR strength distributions vary in a dramatic manner in nuclei near A~ 90 region. In particular, the A=92 nuclei, 92Zr and 92Mo, emerged quite disparate from the others. These results, if correct, imply significant nuclear structure contribution to the nuclear incompressibility in this mass region. To further examine these surprising and highly intriguing results, inelastic scattering of 385-MeV α particles has been measured on 90, 92Zr and 92Mo nuclei using the "Grand Raiden" spectrometer at RCNP, Japan. Results obtained from multipole decomposition analysis would be discussed.


Topic: Low-Energy 20Ne(p,γ)21Na Cross-section Study with the 5U-4 St. Ana Accelerator

Ms. Stephanie Lyons ( University of Notre Dame ) / February 15, 2016

In stars whose temperature is greater than 0.05 GK, hydrogen burning can proceed via the NeNa cycle, which in important for the nucleosynthesis of Ne, Na, and Mg isotopes. The first reaction in this cycle is 20Ne(p,γ)21Na, which also has the slowest proton capture reaction rate [1], thereby influencing the rest of the cycle and, potentially, abundances of the other nuclei that are synthesized in the cycle. The stellar reaction rate for 20Ne(p,γ)21Na is dominated by direct capture and the high energy tail of a subthreshold resonance. The aim of this work is to understand the direct-capture component of this reaction. Using Notre Dame’s recently commissioned 5U-4 accelerator, the 20Ne(p,γ)21Na cross-section has been measured relative to the 1169 keV resonance at low energies. The resonance strength of the 1169 keV resonance was also independently determined. Improvements to previous cross-section measurements will be discussed [2].

[1] Iliadis et. al. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 134, 151 (2001)
[2] Rolfs et. al. Nuclear Physics A 241, 480 (1975)


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Topic: TBA

Dr. Alexander Voinov ( Ohio University ) / February 22, 2016



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TBA / February 29, 2016



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Dr. Sean Liddick ( NSCL, MSU ) / March 14, 2016



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TBA / March 21, 2016



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TBA / April 4, 2016



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TBA / April 11, 2016



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Prof. Dieter Frekers ( University of Münster, Germany ) / April 18, 2016



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Dr. Xilin Zhang ( University of Washington ) / April 25, 2016



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Dr. Dawn Shaughnessy ( Livermore National Laboratory ) / May 2, 2016



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Prof. Nadia Fomin ( University of Tennessee ) / May 9, 2016


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