Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researcher Nabs Doubly Magic Tin Isotope, a North American First

11.12.2008
With help from newly developed equipment designed and built at Michigan State University, MSU researchers have been able to make first-of-its-kind measurements of several rare nuclei, one of which has been termed a “holy grail” of experimental nuclear physics.

The discoveries, made at MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory using an isotope purification device, will help to refine theoretical models about how elements are created in the cosmos. Until now, this was beyond the technical reach of nearly all of the world's nuclear science facilities.

To be published December 12 in Physical Review Letters, the paper details how the researchers were able to measure the nuclei of tin, cadmium and indium.

"Tin-100, in particular, has been sort of a holy grail of experimental nuclear physics," said NSCL senior physicist Daniel Bazin of one of the isotopes, with 50 protons and 50 neutrons, described in the paper.

Within nuclear science, 50 is considered "magic" because it's one of a handful of numbers associated with extra stability. The other magic numbers are 2, 8, 20, 28, 82 and 126.

It takes a magic number of protons or neutrons to fill the nested energetic shells that form the nucleus like stacking Russian matryoshka dolls. To understand the concept, consider that each carved doll similarly has a magic number of marbles that precisely and completely fills the hollow interior. And just as a doll full of marbles neatly packed together is probably sturdier than one that's only half or a quarter full, so too is a closed-shell nucleus more stable than its counterparts.

Tin-100 is one of the few “doubly magic” nuclei with magic numbers of both protons and neutrons. Such nuclei are generally far more stable than other particles, especially at the fleeting, shape-shifting edge of nuclear existence. Because of this stability, doubly magic nuclei serve as useful semi-permanent signposts to rare isotope researchers who troll the unexplored terrain of the nuclear landscape seeking to answer basic questions about the structure of nuclear matter and processes that create chemical elements inside stars.

The new experimental device, the radio frequency fragment separator, provides at least a hundredfold boost to NSCL's ability to filter out the few exotic isotopes from the vast sea of other particles produced by its coupled superconducting cyclotrons and downstream magnets. Funding for the equipment was provided by the National Science Foundation.

This newfound filtering ability resulted in the first production and measurement in North America of tin-100, which has been eagerly pursued by experimentalists since at least the mid-1990s. GSI in Germany and GANIL in France are the only other nuclear science facilities in the world to have successfully produced and studied the rare, proton-rich isotope of tin, an element extensively used for thousands of years in everything from ancient spears and knives to cars and modern electronics.

In their paper, a draft version of which is available online on the arxiv.org preprint server (http://arxiv.org/abs/0810.3597), Bazin and his collaborators also report the measurement of half-lives of the cadmium-96 (48 protons and 48 neutrons) and indium-98 (49 protons and 49 neutrons) isotopes.

The announcement of the observation of the three rare isotopes builds on recent NSCL success in creating nuclear matter that otherwise only exists in extreme environments in space, such as exploding stars. In fall 2007, the laboratory reported the discovery of three neutron-rich isotopes of magnesium and aluminum in the journal Nature, a finding that received considerable media attention in the science and mainstream press.

The laboratory is currently undertaking a major MSU-funded upgrade, the centerpiece of which is a new low-energy reaccelerator that will be used to conduct astrophysical research. When this upgrade is completed in summer 2010, NSCL will be only facility in the world capable of offering experimentalists the chance to conduct research with fast, stopped and reaccelerated beams of rare isotopes.

A world leader in rare isotope research and nuclear science education, NSCL is a user facility serving 700 researchers in 32 countries.

Geoff Koch | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.nscl.msu.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions
18.12.2018 | Eindhoven University of Technology

nachricht NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate
18.12.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>