Lifetimes of low-lying yrast states in neutron-rich 94,96,98Sr have been measured by Germanium-gated γ−γ fast timing with LaBr3(Ce) detectors using the EXILL&FATIMA spectrometer at the Institut Laue-Langevin. Sr fission products were generated using cold-neutron-induced fission of 235U and stopped almost instantaneously within the thick target. The experimental B(E2) values are compared with results of Monte Carlo shell-model calculations made without truncation on the occupation numbers of the orbits spanned by eight proton and eight neutron orbits and show good agreement. Similarly to the Zr isotopes, the abrupt shape transition in the Sr isotopes near neutron number N=60 is identified as being caused by many-proton excitations to its g9/2 orbit.
High-spin states in the N = 128 nucleus 218Th have been investigated following fusion–evaporation reactions, using the recoil-decay tagging technique. Due to the short-lived nature of the ground state of 218Th prompt γ rays have been correlated with the α decay of the daughter nucleus 214Ra. The level scheme representing the decay of excited states has been extended to (16+) with the observation of six previously unreported transitions. The observations are compared with the results of shell model calculations and within the context of the systematics of neighbouring nuclei.
Atomic nuclei with certain combinations of proton and neutron numbers can adopt reflection-asymmetric or octupole-deformed shapes at low excitation energy. These nuclei present a promising avenue in the search for a permanent atomic electric dipole moment—the existence of which has implications for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. Theoretical studies have suggested that certain thorium isotopes may have large octupole deformation. However, due to experimental challenges, the extent of the octupole collectivity in the low-energy states in these thorium nuclei has not yet been demonstrated. Here, we report measurements of the lifetimes of low-energy states in 228Th (Z = 90) with a direct electronic fast-timing technique, the mirror symmetric centroid difference method. From lifetime measurements of the low-lying Jπ = 1− and Jπ = 3− states, the E1 transition probability rates and the intrinsic dipole moment are determined. The results are in agreement with those of previous theoretical calculations, allowing us to estimate the extent of the octupole deformation of 228Th. This study indicates that the nuclei 229Th and 229Pa (Z = 91) may be good candidates for the search for a permanent atomic electric dipole moment.
A multinucleon transfer reaction between a thin self-supporting 78198Pt target and an 850 MeV 54136X6 beam has been used to populate and study the structure of the N=80 isotone 56136Ba. Making use of time-correlated γ-ray spectroscopy, evidence for an Iπ=(10+) isomeric state has been found with a measured half-life of 91±2 ns. Prompt-delayed correlations have also enabled the tentative measurement of the near-yrast states which lie above the isomer. Shell-model calculations suggest that the isomer has a structure which can be assigned predominantly as (vh 11/2)10+-2. The results are discussed in terms of standard and pair-truncated shell-model calculations, and compared to the even-Z N=80 isotones ranging from 50130Sn to 68148Er. A qualitative explanation of the observed dramatic decrease in the B(E2:10+→8+) value for the N=80 isotones at 136Ba is given in terms of the increasing single-hole energy of the h11/2 neutron configuration as the proton subshell is filled. The angular momentum transfer to the binary fragments in the reaction has also been investigated in terms of the average total γ-ray fold versus the scattering angle of the recoils.
The 50 N,Z 82 region of the Segrè chart, spanning the nuclei “northwest” of doubly-magic 132Sn, is an intriguing study ground to test the suitability and predictive power of nuclear models at both low and high spins. Low-spin excited states in the nearly spherical nuclei near proton- and neutronshell closures are well described as anharmonic vibrations  with a gradual change to rotational structures further away from the closed shells. Further on, quasiparticle excitations play a key role and are responsible for the presence of yrast-trap isomers. These long-lived states interrupt and fragment the decay flux in spectroscopic investigations. High-j couplings involving the unique-parity h11/2 neutron-hole orbital give rise to a wealth of high-spin states with multi-quasiparticle character. In particular, detailed knowledge of isomers is crucial to ascertain the active quasiparticle configurations in the specific nucleus.
A multinucleon transfer reaction between a thin self-supporting Pt-198(78) target and an 850 MeV Xe-136(54) beam has been used to populate and study the structure of the N=80 isotone Ba-136(56). Making use of time-correlated gamma-ray spectroscopy, evidence for an I-pi=(10(+)) isomeric state has been found with a measured half-life of 91+/-2 ns. Prompt-delayed correlations have also enabled the tentative, measurement of the near-yrast states which lie above the isomer. Shell-model calculations suggest that the isomer has a structure which can be assigned predominantly as (nuh(11/2))(10+)(-2). The results are discussed in terms of standard and pair-truncated shell-model calculations, and compared to the even-Z N=80 isotones ranging from Sn-130(50) to Er-148(68). A qualitative explanation of the observed dramatic decrease in the B(E2:10(+)-->8(+)) value for the N=80 isotones at Ba-136 is given in terms of the increasing single-hole energy of the h(11/2) neutron configuration as the proton subshell is filled. The angular momentum transfer to the binary fragments in the reaction has also been investigated in terms of the average total gamma-ray fold versus the scattering angle of the recoils.
In the EXILL campaign a highly efficient array of high purity germanium (HPGe) detectors was operated at the cold neutron beam facility PF1B of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) to carry out nuclear structure studies, via measurements of γ-rays following neutron-induced capture and fission reactions. The setup consisted of a collimation system producing a pencil beam with a thermal capture equivalent flux of about 108 n s−1cm−2 at the target position and negligible neutron halo. The target was surrounded by an array of eight to ten anti-Compton shielded EXOGAM Clover detectors, four to six anti-Compton shielded large coaxial GASP detectors and two standard Clover detectors. For a part of the campaign the array was combined with 16 LaBr3:(Ce) detectors from the FATIMA collaboration. The detectors were arranged in an array of rhombicuboctahedron geometry, providing the possibility to carry out very precise angular correlation and directional-polarization correlation measurements. The triggerless acquisition system allowed a signal collection rate of up to 6 × 105 Hz. The data allowed to set multi-fold coincidences to obtain decay schemes and in combination with the FATIMA array of LaBr3:(Ce) detectors to analyze half-lives of excited levels in the pico- to microsecond range. Precise energy and efficiency calibrations of EXILL were performed using standard calibration sources of 133Ba, 60Co and 152Eu as well as data from the reactions 27Al(n,γ)28Al and 35Cl(n,γ)36Cl in the energy range from 30 keV up to 10 MeV.
Lifetimes of low- and high-spin states in the odd-A nucleus Hf177 were measured during the EXILL&FATIMA campaign using a spectrometer equipped with eight HPGe-Clover detectors and 16 fast-timing LaBr3(Ce) detectors. For the determination of lifetimes in the pico- to nanosecond regime, the well-established generalized centroid difference method was used. Lifetimes of the 9/2−, 9/2+, 11/2−, 11/2+ states were remeasured, the lifetimes of the 13/2−, 17/2−, 13/2+, 15/2+, and 17/2+ states were determined for the first time and an upper limit for the 19/2+ state has been established. From these lifetimes absolute reduced transition probabilities were extracted and compared to particle-rotor-model calculations and quasiparticle-phonon-model calculations showing the importance of including multipole-multipole interactions in the description of odd-A nuclei in the rare earth region.
In atomic nuclei, the spin-orbit interaction originates from the coupling of the orbital motion of a nucleon with its intrinsic spin. Recent experimental and theoretical works have suggested a weakening of the spin-orbit interaction in neutron-rich nuclei far from stability. To study this phenomenon, we have investigated the spin-orbit energy splittings of single-hole and single-particle valence neutron orbits of 132Sn. The spectroscopic strength of single-hole states in 131Sn was determined from the measured differential cross sections of the tritons from the neutron-removing 132Sn(d,t)131Sn reaction, which was studied in inverse kinematics at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The spectroscopic factors of the lowest 3=2+, 1=2+ and 5=2+states were found to be (2 j+1), confirming the robust N = 82 shell closure at 132Sn. We compared the spin-orbit splitting of neutron single-hole states in 131Sn to those of single-particle states in 133Sn determined in a recent measurement of the 132Sn(d,p)133Sn reaction. We found a significant reduction of the energy splitting of the weakly bound 3p orbits compared to the well-bound 2d orbits, and that all the observed energy splittings can be reproduced remarkably well by calculations using a onebody spin-orbit interaction and a Woods-Saxon potential of standard radius and diffuseness. The observed reduction of spin-orbit splitting can be explained by the extended radial wavefunctions of the weakly bound orbits, without invoking a weakening of the spin-orbit strength.
Lifetimes of intermediate-spin states in two rotational bands of 99Zr have been measured. These states were populated following the neutron-induced fission of 235U at the PF1B beamline of the Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, during the EXILL-FATIMA campaign. The nucleus 99Zr59 exhibits shape coexistence and lies precisely on the border of an abrupt change in ground-state deformation when going from N=58 to N=60, making its study interesting for understanding the mechanisms involved in the rapid onset of deformation here. The B(E2) values extracted for decays in the ν3/2 band allow quadrupole deformations of β2=0.34(1) and 0.26(3) to be determined for the 821.6- and 1236.6-keV members, whereas β2=0.32(3) was found for the 850.5-keV member of the ν3/2band. Some of the excited states known in 99Zr have been reasonably described with interacting boson-fermion model (IBFM) calculations. Type-II shell evolution is proposed to play a major role in modifying single-particle energies in 99Zr.
The half-life of the yrast I π = 2+ state in the neutron-rich nucleus 188W has been measured using fast-timing techniques with the HPGe and LaBr3:Ce array at the National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering, Bucharest. The resulting value of t1/2 = 0.87(12) ns is equivalent to a reduced transition probability of B(E2; 2+ 1 → 0+ 1 ) = 85(12) W.u. for this transition. The B(E2; 2+ 1 → 0+ 1 ) is compared to neighboring tungsten isotopes and nuclei in the Hf, Os, and Pt isotopic chains. Woods-Saxon potential energy surface (PES) calculations have been performed for nuclei in the tungsten isotopic chain and predict prolate deformed minima with rapidly increasing γ softness for 184–192W and an oblate minimum for 194W.
We propose to install a storage ring at an ISOL-type radioactive beam facility for the first time. Specifically, we intend to setup the heavy-ion, low-energy ring TSR at the HIE-ISOLDE facility in CERN, Geneva. Such a facility will provide a capability for experiments with stored secondary beams that is unique in the world. The envisaged physics programme is rich and varied, spanning from investigations of nuclear ground-state properties and reaction studies of astrophysical relevance, to investigations with highly-charged ions and pure isomeric beams. The TSR might also be employed for removal of isobaric contaminants from stored ion beams and for systematic studies within the neutrino beam programme. In addition to experiments performed using beams recirculating within the ring, cooled beams can also be extracted and exploited by external spectrometers for high-precision measurements. The existing TSR, which is presently in operation at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, is well-suited and can be employed for this purpose. The physics cases as well as technical details of the existing ring facility and of the beam and infrastructure requirements at HIE-ISOLDE are discussed in the present technical design report.
The island of inversion for neutron-rich nuclei in the vicinity of N=20 has become the testing ground par excellence for our understanding and modeling of shell evolution with isospin. In this context, the structure of the transitional nucleus ²⁹Mg is critical. The first quantitative measurements of the single-particle structure of ²⁹Mg are reported, using data from the d(²⁸Mg, p γ)²⁹Mg reaction. Two key states carrying significant ℓ=3 (f-wave) strength were identified at 2.40±0.10 (Jπ=5/2¯) and 4.28±0.04 MeV (7/2¯). New state-of-the-art shell-model calculations have been performed and the predictions are compared in detail with the experimental results. While the two lowest 7/2¯ levels are well described, the sharing of single-particle strength disagrees with experiment for both the 3/2¯ and 5/2¯ levels and there appear to be general problems with configurations involving the p3/2 neutron orbital and core-excited components. These conclusions are supported by an analysis of the neutron occupancies in the shell-model calculations.
The nuclei below lead but with more than 126 neutrons are crucial to an understanding of the astrophysical r-process in producing nuclei heavier than A ~ 190. Despite their importance, the structure and properties of these nuclei remain experimentally untested as they are difficult to produce in nuclear reactions with stable beams. In a first exploration of the shell structure of this region, neutron excitations in 207Hg have been probed using the neutron-adding (d,p) reaction in inverse kinematics. The radioactive beam of 206Hg was delivered to the new ISOLDE Solenoidal Spectrometer at an energy above the Coulomb barrier. The spectroscopy of 207Hg marks a first step in improving our understanding of the relevant structural properties of nuclei involved in a key part of the path of the r-process.
The components, working principle and characteristics of FATIMA (FAst TIMing Array), a fast-timing detector system for DESPEC at FAIR, are described. The core system includes 36 LaBr3(Ce) scintillator detectors, a mounting frame for the DESPEC station and a VME-based fast-timing data acquisition system. The current electronic timing circuit is based on V812 constant fraction discriminators and V1290 time-to-digital converters. Gamma-ray energies are measured using V1751 digitisers. Characteristics of the core FATIMA system including efficiency, energy, and coincidence resolving time, as well as limitations, are discussed on the basis of test measurements performed in the S4 cave at GSI, Germany. The coincidence γ-γ time resolution for the prompt 60Co cascade is determined to be ~320 ps full width at half maximum. The total full energy peak efficiency at 1 MeV for the 36 detector array in the DESPEC setup is 2.9%. The energy-dependent prompt response centroid curve with the current CFD/TDC combination is shown to be smooth; the centroid shift method can be applied for the measurement of half-lives below 200 ps. An overview of applications of the FATIMA detectors as an ancilliary system in combination with other detector arrays during recent years is given. Data on the operation of the detectors in the presence of magnetic fields are presented.