Synopsis: Far from the stable nuclei

An advance in computational techniques for performing nuclear shell model calculations points to an island of inversion near chromium-64.
Synopsis figure
Credit: Carin Cain

Nuclei further and further from the line of stability are being widely studied using beams of unstable nuclei. The shell model provides an excellent description of nuclear structure, but its predictions are most powerful when it includes many active nuclear orbits and a realistic description of the effective interaction between the active nucleons. This requires time-consuming computations that can handle huge amounts of data.

Writing in Physical Review C, Silvia Lenzi at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Padova, Italy, and colleagues in France and Spain, report a significant computational advance—involving matrix dimensions reaching ten billion—in shell-model calculations. Starting with a core nucleus of calcium-48, they include the remaining proton and neutron orbits from the pf major shell, and the g9/2 and d5/2 orbits for neutrons from the next major shell, to study neutron-rich nuclei that are centered around chromium-64. In particular, they explore a possible “island of inversion,” where the neutron dg orbits are filled in preference to the pf ones.

Lenzi et al. also calculate the allowed states of the nuclei as pairs of protons are removed from nickel-68 and find a rapid onset of deformation (changes in the nuclear shape). The deformation is signaled by a decrease in the excitation energy of the first excited state (denoted by 2+) and a concomitant increase in the transition strength to the ground state. Their calculations point to an island of inversion that is similar to the one seen near magnesium-32. Lenzi et al. are able to reproduce the evolution of deformation along various isotopic chains, suggesting they have achieved a comprehensive description in terms of the shell model. – John Millener


Announcements

More Announcements »

Subject Areas

Nuclear Physics

Previous Synopsis

Particles and Fields

The X factor

Read More »

Next Synopsis

Superconductivity

Success without pressure

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: Starting Fluid for Laser Fusion
Energy Research

Synopsis: Starting Fluid for Laser Fusion

A laser-based fusion experiment demonstrates that liquid fuel capsules could rectify problems encountered with ice-based fuel capsules. Read More »

Focus: More Hints of Exotic Cosmic-Ray Origin
Astrophysics

Focus: More Hints of Exotic Cosmic-Ray Origin

New Space Station data support a straightforward model of cosmic-ray propagation through the Galaxy but also add to previous signs of undiscovered cosmic-ray sources such as dark matter. Read More »

Synopsis: Neutron Stars in a Petri Dish
Nuclear Physics

Synopsis: Neutron Stars in a Petri Dish

Simulations of the dense matter in a neutron star’s crust predict the formation of structures that resemble those found in biological membranes. Read More »

More Articles