The impact of (n,γ) reaction rate uncertainties of unstable isotopes on the i-process nucleosynthesis of the elements from Ba to W

NUGRID Collaboration

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Abstract

The abundances of neutron (n)-capture elements in the carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP)-r/s stars agree with predictions of intermediate n-density nucleosynthesis, at Nn ∼ 1013-1015 cm−3, in rapidly accreting white dwarfs (RAWDs). We have performed Monte Carlo simulations of this intermediate-process (i-process) nucleosynthesis to determine the impact of (n,γ ) reaction rate uncertainties of 164 unstable isotopes, from 131I to 189Hf, on the predicted abundances of 18 elements from Ba to W. The impact study is based on two representative one-zone models with constant values of Nn = 3.16 × 1014 and 3.16 × 1013 cm−3 and on a multizone model based on a realistic stellar evolution simulation of He-shell convection entraining H in a RAWD model with [Fe/H] = −2.6. For each of the selected elements, we have identified up to two (n,γ ) reactions having the strongest correlations between their rate variations constrained by Hauser-Feshbach computations and the predicted abundances, with the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients |rP| > 0.15. We find that the discrepancies between the predicted and observed abundances of Ba and Pr in the CEMP-i star CS 31062−050 are significantly diminished if the rate of 137Cs(n,γ )138Cs is reduced and the rates of 141Ba(n,γ )142Ba or 141La(n,γ )142La increased. The uncertainties of temperature-dependent β-decay rates of the same unstable isotopes have a negligible effect on the predicted abundances. One-zone Monte Carlo simulations can be used instead of computationally time-consuming multizone Monte Carlo simulations in reaction rate uncertainty studies if they use comparable values of Nn. We discuss the key challenges that RAWD simulations of i process for CEMP-i stars meet by contrasting them with recently published low-Z asymptotic giant branch (AGB) i process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3913-3925
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume503
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Keywords

  • Abundances
  • Nuclear reactions
  • Nucleosynthesis
  • Post-AGB
  • Stars: AGB
  • Stars: abundances

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