Sensitivity studies for r-process nucleosynthesis in three astrophysical scenarios
1 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Union College, Schenectady, NY 12308 USA
2 Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556 USA
3 Department of Chemistry and Physics, St Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN 46556 USA
4 Department of Physics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695 USA
a e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online: 20 March 2014
In rapid neutron capture, or r-process, nucleosynthesis, heavy elements are built up via a sequence of neutron captures and β decays that involves thousands of nuclei far from stability. Though we understand the basics of how the r process proceeds, its astrophysical site is still not conclusively known. The nuclear network simulations we use to test potential astrophysical scenarios require nuclear physics data (masses, β decay lifetimes, neutron capture rates, fission probabilities) for all of the nuclei on the neutron-rich side of the nuclear chart, from the valley of stability to the neutron drip line. Here we discuss recent sensitivity studies that aim to determine which individual pieces of nuclear data are the most crucial for r-process calculations. We consider three types of astrophysical scenarios: a traditional hot r process, a cold r process in which the temperature and density drop rapidly, and a neutron star merger trajectory.
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