Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Out-of-shape nuclei

22.08.2011
Adding neutrons to synthetic atoms can drastically alter the shape of their nuclei and affect their stability

To probe the evolution of atomic nuclei with different shape —a factor which affects atomic stability—a large team of international researchers has added neutrons to zirconium atoms and revealed the possibility of very unusual shapes. “The shape of a nucleus reflects the symmetry of its quantum state,” explains team member Hiroyoshi Sakurai from the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Wako. This result helps us to understand how many neutrons are needed for the most stable nuclei.

Most atoms can exist in one of several alternative forms called isotopes, depending on the number of neutrons in their core. Naturally occurring, stable, atoms tend to have between 1 and 1.5 neutrons per proton. However, synthetically generated atoms with higher neutron–proton ratios can reveal much about changes within an atomic nucleus.

The protons and neutrons in a nucleus usually form arrangements of concentric spherical shells. In some cases, however, the outermost particles exist further from the center than normal. This can lead to nuclei that are wider than they are long. Just as atoms with a specific number of protons can exist as different isotopes, atoms with a specific number of protons and neutrons can exist as different nuclear isomers—nuclei with different shapes. “By measuring the shape of nuclei, we are probing the internal symmetry in the nucleus—the so-called shell structure,” explains Sakurai.

At the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory in Japan, operated jointly by RIKEN and The University of Tokyo, the researchers experimented with zirconium atoms that have 40 protons and, in their stable form, between 50 and 52 neutrons. They created zirconium atoms with as many as 68 neutrons through collisions between uranium and beryllium atoms. After filtering isotopes from the remnants of the collision, they measured the rate of decay of beta and gamma radiation emitted by the quickly decaying, unstable synthetic atoms. The measurements showed that these nuclei changed shape from spherical to oblate.

The degree of deformation of the zirconium nuclei increased as Sakurai and colleagues added more neutrons, but this trend stopped when they reached 64 neutrons. This result raises the intriguing prospect of a tetrahedral-shaped isomer of zirconium-108—an isotope with 68 neutrons—which has been predicted previously by other researchers. However, further work is needed to verify this.

“We next hope to gain further insight into the evolution of nuclear isomers by extending our study to strontium atoms,” Sakurai says.

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Radioactive Isotope Physics Laboratory, RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science

Reference:
Sumikama, T., Yoshinaga, K., Watanabe, H., Nishimura, S., Miyashita, Y., Yamaguchi, K., Sugimoto, K., Chiba, J., Li, Z., Baba, H. et al. Structural evolution in the neutron-rich nuclei 106Zr and 108Zr. Physical Review Letters

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

Further reports about: Out-of-shape RIKEN Radioactive atomic nuclei isotopes zirconium atom zirconium atoms

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht One-way roads for spin currents
23.05.2018 | Singapore University of Technology and Design

nachricht Tunable diamond string may hold key to quantum memory
23.05.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>