Direct cross-section measurement of the weak r-process 88Sr({\alpha},n)91Zr reaction in {\nu}-driven winds of core collapse supernovae

C. Fougères, M. L. Avila, H. Jayatissa, D. Santiago-Gonzalez, K. Brandenburg, Z. Meisel, P. Mohr, F. Montes, C. Műller-Gatermann, D. Neto, W. -J. Ong, J. Pereira, K. E. Rehm, T. L. Tang, I. A. Tolstukhin, L. Varriano, G. Wilson, J. Wu
Nuclear Experiment, Nuclear Experiment (nucl-ex)
2024-02-02 00:00:00
About half of the heavy elements beyond iron are known to be produced by the rapid neutron capture process, known as r-process. However, the astrophysical site producing the r-process is still uncertain. Chemical abundances observed in several cosmic sites indicate that different mechanisms should be at play. For instance, the abundances around silver measured in a subset of metal-poor stars indicate the presence of a weak r-process. This process may be active in neutrino-driven winds of core collapse supernovae where (${\alpha}$,n) reactions dominate the synthesis of Z ~ 40 elements in the expelled materials. Scarcely measured, the rates of (${\alpha}$,n) reactions are determined from statistical Hauser-Feshbach calculations with ${\alpha}$-optical-model potentials, which are still poorly constrained. The uncertainties of the (${\alpha}$,n) reaction rates therefore make a significant contribution to the uncertainties of the abundances determined from stellar modeling. In this work, the $^{88}$Sr(${\alpha}$,n)$^{91}$Zr reaction which impacts the weak r-process abundances has been probed at astrophysics energy for the first time; directly measuring the total cross sections at astrophysical energies of 8.37 - 13.09 MeV in the center of mass (3.8 - 7.5 GK). Two measurements were performed at ATLAS with the electrically-segmented ionization chamber MUSIC, in inverse kinematics, while following the active target technique. The cross sections of this ${\alpha}$-induced reaction on $^{88}$Sr, located at the shell closure N = 50, have been found to be lower than expected, by a factor of 3, despite recent statistical calculations validated by measurements on neighboring nuclei. This result encourages more experimental investigations of (${\alpha}$,n) reactions, at N = 50 and towards the neutron-rich side, to further test the predictive power and reliability of such calculations.
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