Improving Understanding of the Synthesis of the Heavy Elements Using NIF Experiments

Friday, 14 February 2014
Water Tower (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Rene Reifarth , Goethe University, Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
The nucleosynthesis of elements beyond iron is dominated by neutron captures in the s and r processes. However, 32 stable, proton-rich isotopes cannot be formed during those processes, because they are shielded from the s process flow and r process beta-decay chains. For all of three processes, current research in nuclear astrophysics addresses the need for better data of nuclear reactions, which involve radioactive isotopes. Depending on the particular reaction, direct or inverse kinematics, forward or time-inversed direction are investigated to better constrain the desired reaction cross sections. The National Ignition Facility offers unique, unprecedented opportunities to investigate some of the important reactions in a completely complementary approach. The high densities and temperatures in the plasma allow the investigation under almost stellar conditions. The experimental challenge is, however, the extreme short time during which such conditions are available.

During the talk, I will review some of the recent experimental approaches determining reaction cross section on radioactive isotopes and will discuss some ideas and options for experiments with astrophysical motivation at NIF.