2017 journal article
Pygmy and core polarization dipole modes in 206 Pb: Connecting nuclear structure to stellar nucleosynthesis
Physics Letters B, 773, 20–25.
A high-resolution study of the electromagnetic response of 206Pb below the neutron separation energy is performed using a (γ→,γ′) experiment at the HIγ→S facility. Nuclear resonance fluorescence with 100% linearly polarized photon beams is used to measure spins, parities, branching ratios, and decay widths of excited states in 206Pb from 4.9 to 8.1 MeV. The extracted ΣB(E1)↑ and ΣB(M1)↑ values for the total electric and magnetic dipole strength below the neutron separation energy are 0.9±0.2e2fm2 and 8.3±2.0μN2, respectively. These measurements are found to be in very good agreement with the predictions from an energy-density functional (EDF) plus quasiparticle phonon model (QPM). Such a detailed theoretical analysis allows to separate the pygmy dipole resonance from both the tail of the giant dipole resonance and multi-phonon excitations. Combined with earlier photonuclear experiments above the neutron separation energy, one extracts a value for the electric dipole polarizability of 206Pb of αD=122±10mb/MeV. When compared to predictions from both the EDF+QPM and accurately calibrated relativistic EDFs, one deduces a range for the neutron-skin thickness of Rskin206=0.12–0.19fm and a corresponding range for the slope of the symmetry energy of L=48–60MeV. This newly obtained information is also used to estimate the Maxwellian-averaged radiative cross section Pb205(n,γ)Pb206 at 30 keV to be σ=130±25mb. The astrophysical impact of this measurement—on both the s-process in stellar nucleosynthesis and on the equation of state of neutron-rich matter—is discussed.