December 9, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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Double Magical Quest

The distorted nucleus of zirconium 80 is lighter than its combined mass of 40 protons and 40 neutrons. The lost mass is converted into binding energy via E = mc2. The binding energy is responsible for holding the nuclei together. Credit: Rare isotope ray equipment

A team of researchers, including scientists from the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and the Rare Isotope Radiation Facility (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU), has solved the case of the missing zirconium-80 block.

Honestly broke the case. Experimenters showed that zirconium 80 – a zirconium atom with 40 protons and 40 neutrons in its nucleus, respectively. NucleusEasier than expected, while taking advantage of NSCL’s unique ability to generate and analyze rare isotopes. Then the theorists submitted to FRIB. This missing piece can be explained with atomic model and new statistical methods.

“The conversation between nuclear theorists and experimenters is like a coordinated dance,” said Alec Heemaker, a graduate research assistant at FRIB and first author of a study the team published in Science on November 25. Nature Physics. “Everyone leads and follows the other.”

“Sometimes theories make predictions ahead of time, other times experiments find things that weren’t expected,” said Ryan Ringel, FRIB’s chief scientist. Mass Measurement. Ringel is also an assistant professor of physics at FRIB and in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences.

“They push each other and the result is a better understanding of the core, which is basically everything we interact with,” he said.

So this story is bigger than its core. In a way, it is a testament to the power of FRIB, a nuclear user facility supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Physics.

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When user operations begin next year, nuclear scientists around the world will be able to work with FRIB technology to create rare isotopes that won’t be studied elsewhere. They will also have the opportunity to work with FRIB experts to understand the findings and implications of these studies. This knowledge has a variety of applications, from helping scientists better understand the universe to improving cancer treatment.

“As we move into the FRIB era, we can measure like this and more,” Ringley said. “We simply knew it back then. There is enough potential for us to learn over decades.”

This means that zirconium-80 itself is a very interesting nucleus.

Initially, nuclei formation is difficult, but rare nuclei formation is a feature of NSCLC. The device produced enough zircon 80 to allow Ringel, Haymaker and their colleagues to determine its weight with unprecedented accuracy. For this purpose, they used a Penning Trap mass spectrometer in a low-energy beam NSCL and ion trap (LEBIT).

“People have measured this weight before, but they’ve never measured it accurately,” Heymaker said. “This is an interesting physics reveal.”

“When we measure weight at this exact level, we are actually measuring how much mass is lost,” Ringley said. “The mass of a nucleus is not just the sum of the masses of its protons and neutrons. It contains the missing mass, which appears to be the energy that holds the nucleus together.”

This is where one of the most famous scientific equations helps explain things. E = mc Albert Einstein. in a2, E stands for energy and M stands for mass (c is the symbol for the speed of light). This means that mass and energy are the same, even if they only appear in the extreme conditions found in the nucleus of an atom.

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When a nucleus has a higher binding energy – which means it has a stronger retention of protons and neutrons – it will have more missing itemThis zirconium-80 helps explain the situation. Its core is tightly bound, and this new measurement revealed that the bond was stronger than expected.

This means that FRIB theorists had to find an explanation and were able to turn to predictions a decade ago to help provide answers. For example, theorists have hypothesized that an 80 zircon core might be magical.

Each time, the nucleus reduces its mass requirement by having a specified number of protons or neutrons. Physicists refer to them as magic numbers. The theory was that zirconium 80 contains a special number of protons and neutrons, making it a double magic.

Previous experiments have shown that zirconium-80 is about the size of a rugby ball or American football. Theorists have predicted that size could lead to this double magic. Thanks to the most accurate weight measurements of zirconium-80 ever made, scientists can back up these ideas with solid data.

“Theorists predicted 30 years ago that zirconium-80 had a magical double-deformed core,” Hammecker said. “The experimenters have taken some time to learn the dance and provide the evidence for theorists. Now that the guide is in place, theorists can work on a few more steps in the dance.”

So the dance continues and to expand the metaphor, NSCL, FRIB and MSU offer one of the best ballrooms to play. It boasts unique facilities, professional staff, and a graduate nuclear physics program highly regarded in the country.

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“I have been able to work on site at a national user facility on topics at the forefront of nuclear science,” Haymaker said. “This experience has allowed me to develop and learn relationships with many laboratory staff and researchers. The project was a success thanks to my dedication to science and world-class facilities and laboratory equipment.”

Learning that tickles the core

more information:

Alec Haymaker, Accurate Weight Gauge for 80Zr Lightweight Self-Draining Core, Nature Physics (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41567-021-01395-WAnd

quote: The Discovery of Double Magic (2021, November 25) Retrieved on November 25, 2021 from

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