Sunday, 18 April 2021

A couple of new papers: On fission, and nuclear sizes

 I haven't mentioned here about a couple of new papers I have been involved with which have appeared over the last month:

• First is a paper on nuclear fission (here in Physical Review C, here open access arXiv version).  The work was done primarily by a PhD student in Beijing, but I contributed a little with discussions, expertise in the code and interpretation of results.  In it we try to understand what goes on microscopically (at the level of individual neutrons and protons) when fission takes place.  We go beyond some previous work (e.g. that of my previous PhD student here and here). Through random fluctuations we see reproduction of the different final products that appear in the distribution of fission products.

• Next is a paper on the isotope shift across shell gaps (here in Journal of Physics G, here open access arXiv version). This is work done by an extended group of collaborators, and again I contributed discussion, interpretation, suggestion of which calculations to do, with the lead authors doing those calculations.  It also builds on some work I did with the same PhD student as the fission work, published here.  I think the nicest thing about this paper is the showing how the underlying mechanism of the isotope shift (change in radius of nuclei as one adds neutrons) can be described in complementary ways by two somewhat disparate theories which each have their own language and mindset for thinking about nuclear structure.  It is also neat in that the idea of understanding how the size of nuclei change as you add more neutrons is in the (science) news right now thanks to the recent results from NASA's NICER telescope on the properties of neutron stars.

Here's a pretty picture from the fission paper representing how different fission events progress through different paths of shape of the fissioning nucleus:

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