All elements are forged in a series of processes that constitute the nucleosynthesis. Most heavy elements are generated through rapid capture of neutrons by nuclei, forming exotic neutron rich nuclei outside of our experimental reach. However, the calculation of the neutron capture on these exotic nuclei is one of the largest sources of error in the modelling of this nucleosynthesis process.
In this project, we request the resources to at substantially reduce this error by combining nuclear structure and reaction theory. In particular, the wavefunctions of heavy deformed nuclei will be calculated with a microscopic nuclear structure method. This calculation, based on the generator coordinate method, is able to take into consideration deformation and other symmetry breaking phenomena that are observed in nuclei. The observables of ground and excited states will be calculated by this sophisticated representation. This is computationally demanding and the description for one heavy nucleus is obtained after a month of calculations using 10 nodes in the present AURORA facility.
The result from this simulation will be then combined with a generalized Green's function treatment to construct the optical potential. As a result, the neutron-nucleus effective interaction of the reaction that can be now then calculated based on state of the art microscopic nuclear structure theory.
This framework will investigate the properties of nuclei far from our experimental reach, both concerning they isolated state and reactions with neutrons, opening up new ways to study the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements.