Nuclear Physics Forum

The LBNL Nuclear Physics Forum (NP Forum) is a weekly (more or less) seminar series covering topics in low-energy nuclear science, including nuclear structure, nuclear chemistry and heavy element research, applied physics and much more.  The NP Forum series involves the nuclear structure group, heavy element research group and research groups from the UC Berkeley campus.  NP Forums are **typically** scheduled for 1pm on Tuesdays or 2pm on Thursdays in the Building 88 2nd floor conference room area, with refreshments (coffee + cookies) available 15 minutes ahead of the talk.  

 2024 NP Forum Series 

Upcoming Forums...

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

9:00 AM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Wei Jia Ong, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

“Galactic Forensics: Using Stellar Debris to Investigate Explosive Nucleosynthesis”

Core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) nucleosynthesis contributes significantly to the production of thechemical elements in the galaxy but the scarcity of high-quality spectroscopic observations (through nofault of astronomers) hinders our understanding of these processes. What nuclear process producesthese nuclei and how much is expelled into the interstellar medium by CCSNe? I will discuss theconcerted, multi- disciplinary approach being pursued by the nuclear astrophysics team at LLNL toprobe explosive nucleosynthesis. We combine radioactive beam measurements of important reactionrates with state-of-the-art nucleosynthesis network models to make predictions for isotopic abundancesthat we then compare to data from in-house nano-analytical measurements of presolar CCSNe grainsobtained from meteorites. I will present our first results and on-going work. I will also briefly discuss recent results from the second FRIB Decay Station initiator (FDSi) experiment.

Past Forums...

Thursday, January 11, 2023

9:00 AM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Shane Wilkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Precision studies of radioactive atoms and molecules for nuclear science"

Investigating the properties of atomic nuclei through measuring their influence upon bound electrons is a powerful and well-established approach in modern nuclear physics [Yan23]. By measuring the hyperfine structure and isotope shift in the atomic structure of radioactive nuclei, nuclear spins, magnetic dipole and electric quadrupole moments and changes in mean-square charge radii can be determined in a nuclear model-independent manner. These observables offer critical and complementary insights into the single-particle structure and collective behavior of the ground- and isomeric states of atomic nuclei, enabling state-of-the-art models of nuclear theory to be tested.

Advances in experimental techniques have allowed laser spectroscopy techniques to push further away from stability, studying isotopes towards the extremes of existence. The unprecedented combination of experimental precision and sensitivity available to researchers has also enabled the first study of molecules containing radioactive nuclei [Gar20, Udr21], despite their significantly more complex structures.

In this seminar, I will present recent highlights from studying radioactive molecules of particular interest for fundamental symmetries studies at ISOLDE-CERN [Ath23b, Udr24, Wil23]. I will also outline the diverse range of research opportunities [Arr23, Ath23a] available for laser spectroscopy studies of radioactive atoms and molecules at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

[Arr23] Arrowsmith-Kron, G. et al., arXiv 2302 02165 (2023)

[Ath23a] Athanasakis-Kaklamanakis, M. Phys. Rev. X 13 011015 (2023)

[Ath23b] Athanasakis-Kaklamanakis, M. arXiv 2308 14862 (2023)[Gar20] Garcia Ruiz, R. et al., Nature 581, 396 (2020)

[Udr21] Udrescu, S. et al., Phys. Rev. Lett 127, 033001 (2021)

[Udr23] Udrescu, S. et al., Nat. Phys. Accepted (2024)

[Wil23] Wilkins, S. et al., arXiv 2311 04121 (2023)

[Yan23] Yang, X. et al., PPNP 129, 104005 (2023)

Thursday, January 18, 2024

9:00 AM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Calem Hoffman, Argonne National Laboratory

"The Influence and Description of Near- or Beyond-Threshold States in Nuclei"

One method of pursuit in our search for a more complete description of the spectroscopic properties of nuclei is through the isolation and impact of specific or well-developed mechanisms.

In the present work, the known consequences of a nuclear single-particle orbital wave function as it approaches its confining threshold have been shown to be at the root of various observed phenomena.

Specifically, the role of this weak-binding or so-called geometric behavior was explored in terms of descriptions of evolving single-particle orbitals, the presence and impact of a 'bubble' nucleus, the locations of the drip lines, and the origins of nuclear halo states.

Future and ongoing directions, which both build upon the insight gained through the aforementioned program as well as complement it, will be discussed.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

1:00 PM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Mike Zach, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

"Spherical Powders: Control Over the Size and Morphology of Powders for Additive Manufacturing and Enriched Stable Nuclear Targets"

Metal powders are the fundamental starting point for many nuclear target fabrications. Elemental powder properties can differ drastically from batch-to-batch, even when using the same method. Therefore, the variation in morphology and size of metal powders can cause variability in quality and yield inconsistent results with otherwise proven techniques for manufacture of targets. Additive manufacturing has additional requirements for higher quality and more uniform feedstock. The production of spheroidized powders with uniform, reproducible properties and a narrow size distribution represents unexplored opportunities for experiments. Such opportunities include experimenting with solid metals that can now flow like liquids, new options for powder handling and dispensing, and new methods for target fabrications using additive manufacturing.

The Stable Isotope Materials and Chemistry Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory obtained an AMAZEMET rePowder ultrasonic metal atomization tool for creating limited batches of fully dense, free flowing, spherical powders of extremely rare materials, such as isotopic materials that have a narrow size distribution. This presentation and manuscript present early results from several materials that were produced, explore the anticipated limits of this instrument with extremely rare materials (e.g., enriched stable isotopes), and highlight research into new fabrication techniques that provide additional options beneficial to the international nuclear target community.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

9:00 AM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Jonas Karthein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Revealing Unknown Nuclear Properties with Next-Gen Precision Techniques"

Radioactive ion beam facilities offer unique access to unexplored regions of the nuclear chart. Due to short half-lives and low production yields of the most promising regions of the nuclear chart, next-generation high-precision techniques are crucial for characterizing fundamental nuclear properties.

This talk presents recent developments in ion trapping and laser spectroscopy techniques of radioactive isotopes that have enabled pioneering precision measurements of neutron-rich indium isotopes in the direct vicinity of the doubly-magic 100Sn(N=Z=50) at CERN/ISOLDE. Using precision mass measurements, we resolved a discrepancy in the β-decay energy of 100Sn, thereby providing an updated atomic mass value for 100Sn via its direct β-decay into 100In [Nature Phys. 17, 1099 (2021)]. Furthermore, using precision laser spectroscopy of the same indium isotopes, we shed light on 100Sn's doubly magic character through the evolution of nuclear deformation across the indium isotopic chain. [arXiv:2310.15093; under review with Nature Phys.] The impact of these measurements is further demonstrated through an assessment of state-of-the-art density-functional and ab initio nuclear theory approaches.

Lastly, I will introduce a new experiment in which both techniques are combined for precision measurements of fundamental symmetries and unknown effects of the nuclear electroweak structure [arXiv:2310.11192; under review with Phys. Rev. Lett.]. In particular, single trapped molecular ions can vastly amplify unknown nuclear-spin-dependent parity-violating effects such as the nuclear anapole moment. The tremendous leverage offered by radioactive molecules produced at LBNL is discussed.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

9:00 AM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Brenden Longfellow, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"Charting the Nuclear Landscape at the Extremes"

This talk focuses on experimental work employing techniques including in-beam gamma-ray spectroscopy and ion trapping to probe short-lived atomic nuclei in exotic regions of the nuclear chart.

First, the ongoing analysis of 25Ne produced from a 18O on 9Be fusion evaporation experiment using the state-of-the-art Gamma Ray Energy Tracking In-beam Nuclear Array (GRETINA) and the Fragment Mass Analyzer (FMA) at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) will be presented. Here, gamma-ray angular distribution and polarization measurements will help clarify spin-parity assignments to help elucidate the evolution of nuclear structure along the Ne isotopic chain from stability at N=12 toward the N=20 Island of Inversion.

Furthermore, results from the first GRETINA experiment at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), which studied shape coexistence near the N=40 Island of Inversion, will be relayed. The varying widths and shapes of the parallel momentum distributions following two-proton knockout into different excited states were utilized to probe levels in N=38 62Cr.

Finally, a precision measurement of 8B beta decay performed at ANL using the Beta-decay Paul Trap (BPT) will be discussed. From this work, the 8B neutrino energy spectrum, an important input for solar neutrino astrophysics, was reconstructed and stringent limits on the beyond Standard Model Tensor current contribution to the electroweak interaction were set.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

9:00 AM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Julian Kahlbow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"The nuclear force across scales"

Rooted in Quantum Chromodynamics, the strong force is the underlying interaction that binds atomic nuclei and is giving rise to nuclear structure. Despite understanding stable nuclei, predictive power of nuclear models diminishes for nuclei and nuclear matter under extreme conditions, like in neutron stars. To address those questions and provide a comprehensive insight into the nuclear interaction, spanning both long- and short-range characteristics, studies of nuclear systems with extreme neutron excess and phenomena related to close nucleons in nuclei are essential. As a key region, I will discuss the impact of long-range forces on the structure evolution of the most neutron-rich fluorine isotopes 29,30 F as studied through the spectroscopy of bound and neutron-unbound states using nucleon-knockout reaction measurements at RIBF. In the second part of my talk, I will discuss efforts to leverage similar experimental techniques in terms of hadronic and electron scattering to probe short-range correlations, manifested in close-proximity nucleon-nucleon pairs, at JINR, GSI-FAIR, and JLab. Looking ahead, I will present a program of measurements using the new FRIB facility towards an understanding of nuclei as open quantum systems and its interactions.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

9:00 AM, Bldg. 88 Upstairs Common Area

Nuclear Physics Forum Seminar

Dr. Rodney Orford, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

"A new life for Millennial devices from modern experimental techniques"

As current and next-generation rare isotope beam facilities race to produce the most exotic nuclei far from stability, experiments must evolve in stride. In this talk I will give an overview of two different experiments which have undergone recent upgrades to permit more efficient studies of never-before-studied nuclei. First, I will discuss highlights from the CARIBU era at Argonne National Laboratory of the Canadian Penning Trap (CPT) mass spectrometer where the implementation of a phase-imaging mass measurement technique led to a revamped sensitivity, providing access to the most exotic beams ever produced by the facility. I will show results from a CPT mass survey of the neutron-rich rare-earth region near N = 100 where nuclear structure effects observed in these nuclei were used to explore the dynamic formation of the rare-earth elemental abundance peak during the astrophysical rapid neutron-capture process. Several instances of isomer discoveries in this region will also be addressed. In the second half, I will briefly summarize the heavy element experimental program at the 88-inch cyclotron facility of Berkeley Lab where the properties of heavy and superheavy elements are studied using the Berkeley Gas-filled Separator (BGS) and the FIONA apparatus. I will highlight a series of recent upgrades, including the commissioning of the superheavy recoil (SHREC) detector at the BGS focal plane in preparation for an upcoming campaign to search for element 120 using the 50Ti + 249Cf reaction. Finally, I will consider the prospects of studying new nuclei produced through multi-nucleon transfer reactions, both here at the 88-inch cyclotron facility and at Argonne's upcoming N = 126 factory.

NP Forum Series Archives: 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019 / 2020-2022 (Pandemic) / 2023 / Current

For further details, or more information on the NP Forum series, please contact current organizers: Jackie Gates or Heather Crawford.