Low-energy nuclear reactions
The understanding of the physics of low-energy nuclear reaction is crucial for explaining the chemical evolution of the Universe. Nuclear reactions constitute the engine of stars and control the formation of elements. They also characterize the different phases of stellar evolution, such as hydrogen burning in main- sequence stars, helium burning in red giants, and carbon, neon, and oxygen burning during the late stages of stellar evolution. Understanding the mechanisms and dynamics of nuclear collisions has implications beyond nuclear astrophysics, with applications in energy, medical and materials sciences.
At ECT* (Alexis Diaz-Torres and PhD-student Maddalena Boselli) theoretical research on the physics of nuclear reactions is carried out in collaboration with JINA in the USA and experimental groups in Europe, India, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. Among other things, the ECT* team develops novel time-dependent quantum approaches to understanding and quantifying astrophysically-important nuclear reactions involving heavy-ions and weakly-bound nuclei.