Towards the Island of Stability: Modern Techniques for Superheavy Element Detection
The push to expand the list of elements at the heavy end of the nuclear chart has been underway since the 1930s, when new elements such as neptunium and plutonium were added to the periodic table. The large neutron fluxes found in nuclear reactors and atomic explosions became the laboratories for the creation of the elements up to Z=100 in the 1950s and 60s. Since then large accelerator laboratories have been at the forefront of superheavy research, with the hope of reaching the long anticipated ‘island of stability’ where stable, spherical nuclei are predicted from theoretical predictions for the next magic shell closures in nucleons. The most recent activity in the field was in 2015 when the IUPAC officially recognised the discoveries of elements, Z = 115 (Mc), 117 (Ts) and 118 (Og).
The superheavy element research undertaken at the University of Liverpool focusses on the boundary of the superheavy region of the nuclear chart, around Z = 100, N = 152 where there is evidence for a deformed shell gap which increases stability against decay. This region is just within the spectroscopic limit, beyond which nuclear structure studies become too difficult to perform, and experimental results can be used to test and improve theoretical models in the superheavy region.
This talk will describe some of the different experimental techniques that have been employed to search for nuclei with extremely low cross sections and discuss the speaker's research in the superheavy element region.
The speaker, Jacob Heery is a PhD student at the University of Liverpool.
Refreshments will be available from 18:30 with the talk starting at 19:00.
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