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Structure and Dynamics of Rare Isotopes relevant for the synthesis of the heavy chemical elements in the universe Detector Technologies for the next generation neutrinoless double beta-decay search experiment nEXO
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
The neutron-rich cadmium isotopes around the well-known magic numbers at Z=50 and N=82 are prime candidates to study the evolving shell structure observed in exotic nuclei. Additionally, the extra binding energy observed around the nearby doubly-magic ¹³²Sn has direct implications for in astrophysical models, leading to the second r-process abundance peak at A≈130 and the corresponding waiting-point nuclei around N=82. The β-decay of the N=82 isotope ¹³⁰Cd into ¹³⁰In was investigated in 2002, but the information for states of the lighter indium isotope ¹²⁸In is still limited. Detailed beta-gamma-spectroscopy of ¹²⁸,¹³¹,¹³²Cd was accomplished using the GRIFFIN facility at TRIUMF. In ¹²⁸In, 32 new transitions and 11 new states have been observed in addition to the four previously observed excited states. The ¹²⁸Cd half-life has also been remeasured via the time distribution of the strongest gamma-rays in the decay scheme with a higher precision. For the decay of ¹³¹,¹³²Cd, results are compared with the recent EURICA data. These new results are compared with recent shell model and IMSRG calculations, highlighting the necessity to re-investigate even "well-known" decay schemes for missing transitions.
Electromagnetic probes represent a fundamental tool to study nuclear structure and dynamics. The perturbative nature of the electromagnetic interaction allows for a clean connection between calculated nuclear structure properties and measured cross sections. Ab initio methods have long represented the gold standard for calculations of nuclear structure observables in light nuclei. Thanks to recent developments in the scientific community, ab initio calculations have finally reached the medium- and heavy-mass region of the nuclear chart. However, the challenges modern nuclear structure calculations face are multiple, ranging from the construction of nuclear forces from chiral effective field theory (χEFT) and the solution of the highly correlated quantum many-body problem, to a quantitative description of observables with solid treatment of uncertainties.The work presented in this thesis aims to contribute addressing some of these challenges, using the ab initio coupled-cluster (CC) theory formulation of the Lorentz integral transform (LIT) method. We combine the CC and LIT methods for the computation of electromagnetic inelastic reactions into the continuum. We show that the bound-state-like equation characterizing the LIT method can be reformulated based on extensions of the coupled-cluster equation-of-motion (EOM) method, and we discuss strategies for viable numerical solutions. We then focus on the calculation of the electric dipole polarizability (α_D), which quantifies the low-energy behaviour of the dipole strength and is related to critical observables such as the radii of the proton and neutron distributions. Using a variety of chiral interactions, and singles and doubles excitations, we study ⁴He, ¹⁶ ²²O and ⁴⁰ ⁴⁸Ca. Exploiting correlations between α_D and the charge radius, we predict the neutron-skin radius and the polarizability for the double-magic ⁴⁸Ca, the latter recently measured by the Osaka-Darmstadt collaboration. Finally, we study the impact of triples excitations on the dipole strength in ⁴He and ¹⁶O.
The nuclear shell model (SM) has been very successful in describing the properties and the structure of near-stable and stable isotopes near the magic nuclei. Today, the advent of powerful facilities capable of producing radioactive isotopes far from stability has enabled the test of the SM on very proton-rich or neutron-rich magic nuclei. 100/50Sn50 is a proton-rich doubly-magic nucleus, but is nearly unstable against proton emission. Key topics of nuclear structure in this region include the location of the proton dripline, the effect of proton-neutron interactions in N ~ Z nuclei, single-particle energies of orbitals above and below the N = Z = 50 shell gaps, and the properties of the superallowed Gamow-Teller decay of ¹⁰⁰Sn. A decay spectroscopy experiment was performed on ¹⁰⁰Sn and nuclei in its vicinity at the RIKEN Nishina Center in June 2013. The isotopes of interest were produced from fragmentation reactions of 124/54Xe on a 9/4Be target, and were separated and identified on an event-by-event basis. Decay spectroscopy was performed by implanting the radioactive isotopes in the Si detector array (WAS3ABi) and observing their subsequent decay radiations. β⁺ particles and protons were detected by WAS3ABi, and γ rays were detected by a Ge detector array (EURICA). Of the proton-rich isotopes produced in this experiment, over 20 isotopes as light as ⁸⁸Zr and as heavy as ¹⁰¹Sn were individually studied. New and improved measurements of isotope/isomer half-lives, β-decay endpoint energies, β-delayed proton emission branching ratios, and γ-ray transitions were analyzed. In general the new results were well reproduced by the SM, highlighting a relatively robust ¹⁰⁰Sn core. However, the level scheme of ¹⁰⁰Sn's β-decay daughter nucleus ¹⁰⁰In was not conclusively determined because of several missing observations which were expected from various SM predictions. Significantly higher β-decay and γ-ray statistics are required on several nuclei, including ¹⁰⁰Sn, to evaluate the limit of the current understanding of their structure.
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Nuclei around doubly magic ¹³²Sn are of particular interest in nuclear structure as well as nuclear astrophysics. Their properties provide important input for the r-process as waiting-point nuclei. For example, their shell structure and half-lives affect the shape of the second r-process abundance peak at A∼130. In terms of nuclear structure, the evolution of single-particle levels near shell closures is ideal for testing the current nuclear models far from stability.There have been two studies on the decay of ¹²⁹Cd, however, the level schemes of ¹²⁹In have large discrepancies. Also, many of the spins of the excited states remain unclear. Therefore, the main purpose of the present study is to resolve the disagreements in the reported level schemes and to determine the properties of the energy states.The experiment was performed at the ISAC facility of TRIUMF, Canada. A 480 MeV proton beam, which was accelerated by the main cyclotron at TRIUMF, was impinged on an uranium carbide target to produce radioactive isotopes. ¹²⁹Cd was extracted using the Ion Guide Laser Ion Source (IG-LIS). γ-rays following the decays of ¹²⁹Cd were detected with the GRIFFIN spectrometer comprising of 16 high-purity germanium (HPGe) clover type detectors, along with the β-particles detected with SCEPTAR. The high statistics and the high sensitivity of the detectors allowed us to perform detailed and precise spectroscopy.A theoretical calculation was conducted using the shell model code NuShellX@MSU, employing the realistic residual interaction model jj45pna.The results of the analysis, including 29 new transitions and 5 new excited states, will be discussed and compared to the theoretical calculations.