Efficient production of nuclear isomer $^{93m}$Mo with laser-accelerated proton beam and an astrophysical implication on $^{92m}$Mo production

Wenru Fan, Wei Qi, Jingli Zhang, Zongwei Cao, Haoyang Lan, Xinxiang Li, Yi Xu, Yuqiu Gu, Zhigang Deng, Zhimeng Zhang, Changxiang Tan, Wen Luo, Yun Yuan, Weimin Zhou
Nuclear Experiment, Nuclear Experiment (nucl-ex), Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR), Nuclear Theory (nucl-th), Plasma Physics (physics.plasm-ph)
2023-08-05 16:00:00
Nuclear isomers play a key role in the creation of the elements in the universe and have a number of fascinating potential applications related to the controlled release of nuclear energy on demand. Particularly, $^{93m}$Mo isomer is a good candidate for studying the depletion of nuclear isomer via nuclear excitation by electron capture. For such purposes, efficient approach for $^{93m}$Mo production needs to be explored. In the present work, we demonstrate experimentally an efficient production of $^{93m}$Mo through $^{93}$Nb(p, n) reaction induced by intense laser pulse. When a ps-duration, 100-J laser pulse is employed, the $^{93m}$Mo isomer at 2425 keV (21/2$^+$, $T_{1/2}$ = 6.85 h) are generated with a high yield of $1.8\times10^6$ particles/shot. The resulting peak efficiency is expected to be $10^{17}$ particles/s, which is at least five orders of magnitudes higher than using classical proton accelerator. The effects of production and destruction of $^{93m}$Mo on the controversial astrophysical p-isotope $^{92}$Mo are studied. It is found that the $^{93}$Nb(p, n)-$^{93m}$Mo reaction is an important production path for ^{93m}Mo seed nucleus, and the influence of ^{93m}Mo-^{92}Mo reaction flow on ^{92}Mo production cannot be ignored. In addition, we propose to directly measure the astrophysical rate of (p, n) reaction using laser-induced proton beam since the latter one fits the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution well. We conclude that laser-induced proton beam opens a new path to produce nuclear isomers with high peak efficiency towards the understanding of p-nuclei nucleosythesis.
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