Nuclear Structure, Mesoscopic Physics and Double-Beta Decay

  • Brown, B. Alex B.A. (PI)
  • Horoi, Mihai (CoPI)
  • Zelevinsky, Vladimir V. (CoPI)

Grant Details


The elements observed on the earth and in our sun contain the most stable isotopes of nuclei. However, there are a great many other forms of these isotopes with greater or lesser numbers of neutrons that only exist for a short time. The formation of these unstable nuclei is essential for understanding the origin of the observed elements during astrophysics events such as supernovae explosions. This project in nuclear theory will contribute significantly to our understanding of the observed properties of stable and unstable nuclei and predicts properties that are not yet observed. This research quantifies the limits of nuclear stability and chains of formations and decays that are needed for understanding the formation of elements during the evolution of the universe. Nuclear decays are determined by the properties of the fundamental particles. The investigators will also study a form of double-beta decay in which no neutrinos are emitted and in which the mass of the neutrino may be determined. Furthermore, this project will advance computational and analytical methods in nuclear physics, and will add to an already rich computational program for nuclear structure that is being used worldwide.

Nuclear physics is at the heart of our understanding of the universe and the types of elementary particles with which it is composed. This project will have a significant impact on new developments in the field of nuclear theory, fundamental symmetries, nuclear astrophysics and the general field of mesoscopic physics. Topics to be studied include: (1) development of new analytical and computational tools for the description of nuclear structure (2) detailed theoretical studies of nuclear processes affecting unstable nuclei; (iii) calculations and modeling of structural and dynamical aspects of nuclear processes, including reactions of astrophysical interest; (iv) calculations of nuclear properties related to fundamental symmetries and double-beta decay; (v) development of the unified description of structure and reactions in open and marginally stable mesoscopic systems and quantum transport in problems of interest to quantum informatics; (vi) studies of the nucleus as a mesoscopic system, including many-body quantum chaos and its coexistence with collective and regular features. Many of these research topics are connected to the experimental programs at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and other laboratories worldwide. This work is also closely coupled with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), and some projects bridge nuclear structure theory with other areas, such as condensed matter physics and quantum information. Strong educational and outreach component are integral components of this effort, as the nuclear physics program at MSU is widely recognized worldwide as a top program in this discipline.

Effective start/end date06/15/1411/30/17


  • National Science Foundation: $874,999.00


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