Speaker: Prof. Michael Wiescher

Department of Physics
University of Notre Dame


Neutron Sources in Stellar and High Density Plasmas




The origin of heavy elements beyond iron is based on slow or rapid neutron capture processes in quiescent or explosive stellar environments, respectively. Neutron sources in quiescent burning are (a,n) reactions on light nuclei. Only recently the 13C(a,n) and the 22Ne(a,n) have been identified as the most dominant sources in stellar helium burning. Similar reactions also take place in the alpha boots-trapping environment in laser driven fusion facilities. Here (a,n) reactions take place at a rapid timescale at the high temperature density environment of the plasma and contribute to the neutron flux. A number of these reactions can be used as observable signature for the alpha-bootstrapping conditions. In this talk I will present and number of experimental initiatives and results on the measurement of (a,n) reaction yields at low energies at the low energies anticipated for stellar and other high density environments.