Microscopic calculations of nuclear structure and nucleosynthesis of heavy element during R process

Microscopic calculations of nuclear structure and nucleosynthesis of heavy element during R process

Acronym: Mical

Principal Investigator: Achille Fiore

Period: Started April 2022

Half of the atomic nuclei heavier than iron found in nature were created in the r-process. According to the most recent models, this process occurs in collisions between two neutron stars or between a neutron star and a black hole. As a result of radioactive processes, the synthesized heavy nuclei produce a characteristic light emission, called kilonova. In this process of stellar nucleosynthesis the formation of heavy elements occurs through the competition of two nuclear reactions: on the one hand neutron capture, which produces nuclei with an extra neutron, and on the other hand beta decay, which transforms a neutron into a proton. This competition produces heavier and heavier nuclei opening a path in the most extreme regions of the table of nuclides in the vicinity of the nuclear drip line until they reach the region where the nuclei decay, through fission, in smaller fragments.
A key ingredient in simulating nucleosynthesis from r-processes is the calculation of the nuclear properties of thousands of unstable atomic nuclei. The goal of this project is to perform the calculations of nuclear structure from microscopic models within the framework of Density Functional Theory. These results will then be used in detailed simulations of r-process nucleosynthesis. A crucial aspect of the project will be the estimation of the error bars of the theoretical simulations, which will be calculated through machine learning algorithms. This will allow for the first time to accurately determine the variation in the estimates of astronomical observables resulting from uncertainties in the nuclear calculations, allowing for more accurate astronomical observations of the electromagnetic counterparts produced in events such as neutron star mergers.


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