University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Nuclear Physics Seminar

Friday, May 3rd 2019
11:00 am:
Nuclear Physics Seminar in Physics Tate 301-20
Speaker: Samuel Giuliani, NSCL/FRIB Laboratory, Michigan State University
Subject: r process, kilonova and nucleosynthesis of superheavy elements: The role of fission

The rapid neutron capture process (r process) is responsible for the production of half of the elements heavier than iron that we observe in the Universe. The quest to identify its actual astrophysical site is still ongoing, but there are strong indications, including the recent observation of the GW170817 electromagnetic counterpart, that make neutron star mergers (NSM) a likely candidate. Reliable estimates of nucleosynthesis yields on NSM require an accurate description of the relevant nuclear physics inputs including nuclear masses, neutron capture rates, β- and α-decay rates and, for fissioning nuclei, fission rates and fission fragments distributions. Several of these quantities can be computed from a consistent theoretical framework using the energy density functional (EDF) approach.
In this talk I will revise how uncertainties in the nuclear physics properties of neutron-rich nuclei impact nucleosynthesis calculations, with a focus in the fission properties of (super)heavy nuclei. I will present a new set of fission rates obtained from microscopic nuclear many-body calculations, which are used as a nuclear input in r-process nucleosynthesis calculations in NSM. The possible formation of superheavy elements during the r-process nucleosynthesis as well as the impact on kilonova light curve, a quasithermal transient powered by freshly synthesized r-process nuclei, will be discussed. Finally, I will introduce recent developments in the estimation of fission yields and the possible extension to r-process nuclei.

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