The 40Ca(alpha,gamma)44Ti Reaction Using DRAGON


In our every day life we are surrounded by materials composed of the elements of the periodic table. Rarely does one ask where these elements came from. It has been a long process of discovery to understand the precise origin of many of the elements we consider commonplace. It is now believed that the Big-Bang produced only the lightest elements, primarily hydrogen and helium, and that heavier elements were synthesized as the product of nuclear reactions within stars. Occasionally the nuclear reactions that occur within stars produce an isotope of an element which is unstable, radioactive. When a radioactive species decays it emits radiation which is characteristic of the species that decayed. Satellites have been able to detect the characteristic radiation from the decay of several isotopes in the Milky Way. One in particular which has been detected is the isotope of titanium, 44Ti. The decay of 44Ti has been seen in the ashes of exploding stars, vast gas clouds termed supernova remnants. This isotope of titanium eventually decays to a stable isotope of calcium found everywhere on Earth from bones to chalk. It is believed that the bulk of the production in stars of 44Ti occurs as the star explodes, during the supernova. Calculations indicate that among the many possible reactions during a supernova, a particular nuclear reaction, where calcium captures a helium nucleus and fuses into titanium, is the main source of 44Ti. In this work it is detailed how using laboratory equipment on Earth one is able to shed light on the nuclear physics of this particular reaction governing the production of an isotope in our universe.

Author: Christian Ouellet

Measurement of the 40Ca(α,γ) 44Ti reaction relevant for supernova nucleosynthesis

AlphaCalcium 40GammaPeer ReviewedScienceSupernovaeTitanium 44

The short-lived nuclide 44 Ti is an important nuclide for the understanding of explosive nucle-osynthesis. The main production reaction, 40 Ca(α, γ)44 Ti, has been studied in inverse kinematics with the recoil mass spectrometer DRAGON located at the TRIUMF-ISAC facility in Vancouver, Canada. The temperature range relevant for α-rich freeze-out during a core-collapse supernova has been covered entirely with a 40 Ca beam of 0.60 to 1.15 MeV/nucleon. All relevant quantities for the calculation of the astrophysical reaction rate have been measured directly. Due to many previously undiscovered resonances, the reaction rate derived from the energy dependent 44 Ti yield is higher than the one based on previous prompt γ-ray studies commonly used in supernova models. The presented new rate results in an increased 44 Ti production in supernovae.

Author: See Paper Document
Journal: Phys. Rev. C 76 035801 (2007).

40Ca(α,γ) 44Ti and the production of 44Ti in supernovae

AlphaCalcium 40GammaPeer ReviewedScienceSupernovaeTitanium 44

The nuclide 44 Ti is predicted to be produced in significant quantities in core-collapse supernovae, and indeed it has been observed in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia-A by space-based γ-ray telescopes. The main production of 44 Ti takes place in the α-rich freeze-out phase deep inside the supernova. The key reactions governing the 44 Ti abundance have been identified in an earlier sensitivity study. Using the recoil mass spectrometer DRAGON at the TRIUMF-ISAC facility in Vancouver, Canada, we measured the main production reaction 40 Ca(α,γ)44 Ti, resulting in an increased reaction rate compared to the rate derived from previous prompt γ-ray studies, which is commonly used in supernova models. The uncertainty of the 44 Ti production is now dominated by the rate of reactions with short-lived nuclides around 44 Ti, namely 45 V(p,γ)46 Cr, 44 Ti(α,p)47 V and 44 Ti(α,γ)48 Cr. The sensitivity of these reactions on the 44 Ti production has been revisited.

Author: See Paper Document
Journal: J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 35 014034 (2008)