2018 journal article

Excited states of Ca-39 and their significance in nova nucleosynthesis


co-author countries: Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ United States of America πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Source: Web Of Science
Added: December 10, 2018

Background: Discrepancies exist between the observed abundances of argon and calcium in oxygen-neon nova ejecta and those predicted by nova models. An improved characterization of the $^{38}\mathrm{K}(p,\ensuremath{\gamma})\phantom{\rule{0.16em}{0ex}}^{39}\mathrm{Ca}$ reaction rate over the nova temperature regime ($\ensuremath{\sim}0.1--0.4$ GK), and thus the nuclear structure of $^{39}\mathrm{Ca}$ above the proton threshold [5770.92(63) keV], is necessary to resolve these contradictions.Purpose: The present study was performed to search for low-spin proton resonances in the $^{38}\mathrm{K}+p$ system, and to improve the uncertainties in energies of the known astrophysically significant proton resonances in $^{39}\mathrm{Ca}$.Methods: The level structure of $^{39}\mathrm{Ca}$ was investigated via high-resolution charged-particle spectroscopy with an Enge split-pole spectrograph using the $^{40}\mathrm{Ca}(^{3}\mathrm{He},\ensuremath{\alpha})\phantom{\rule{0.16em}{0ex}}^{39}\mathrm{Ca}$ reaction. Differential cross sections were measured over six laboratory angles at 21 MeV. Distorted-wave Born approximation calculations were performed to constrain the spin-parity assignments of observed levels with special attention to those significant in determination of the $^{38}\mathrm{K}(p,\ensuremath{\gamma})\phantom{\rule{0.16em}{0ex}}^{39}\mathrm{Ca}$ reaction rate over the nova temperature regime.Results: The resonance energies corresponding to two out of three astrophysically important states at 6154(5) and 6472.2(24) keV are measured with better precision than previous charged-particle spectroscopy measurements. A tentatively new state is discovered at 5908(3) keV. The spin-parity assignments of a few of the astrophysically important resonances are determined.Conclusions: The present $^{38}\mathrm{K}(p,\ensuremath{\gamma})\phantom{\rule{0.16em}{0ex}}^{39}\mathrm{Ca}$ upper limit thermonuclear reaction rate at 0.1--0.4 GK is higher than that determined by Christian et al. [Phys. Rev. C 97, 025802 (2018)] by at most a factor of 1.4 at 0.1 GK.