Level Densities and Radiative Strength Functions in 56Fe and 57Fe

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Title: Level Densities and Radiative Strength Functions in 56Fe and 57Fe
Author: Tavukcu, Emel
Advisors: Gary E. Mitchell, Committee Chair
Abstract: Understanding nuclear level densities and radiative strength functions is important for pure and applied nuclear physics. Recently, the Oslo Cyclotron Group has developed an experimental method to extract level densities and radiative strength functions simultaneously from the primary γ rays after a light-ion reaction. A primary γ-ray spectrum represents the γ-decay probability distribution. The Oslo method is based on the Axel-Brink hypothesis, according to which the primary γ-ray spectrum is proportional to the product of the level density at the final energy and the radiative strength function. The level density and the radiative strength function are fit to the experimental primary γ-ray spectra, and then normalized to known data. The method works well for heavy nuclei. The present measurements extend the Oslo method to the lighter mass nuclei ⁵⁶Fe and ⁵⁷Fe. The experimental level densities in ⁵⁶Fe and ⁵⁷Fe reveal step structure. This step structure is a signature for nucleon pair breaking. The predicted pairing gap parameter is in good agreement with the step corresponding to the first pair breaking. Thermodynamic quantities for ⁵⁶Fe and ⁵⁷ are derived within the microcanonical and canonical ensembles using the experimental level densities. Energy-temperature relations are considered using caloric curves and probability density functions. The differences between the thermodynamics of small and large systems are emphasized. The experimental heat capacities are compared with the recent theoretical calculations obtained in the Shell Model Monte Carlo method. Radiative strength functions in ⁵⁶Fe and ⁵⁷Fe have surprisingly high values at low γ-ray energies. This behavior has not been observed for heavy nuclei, but has been observed in other light- and medium-mass nuclei. The origin of this low γ-ray energy effect remains unknown.
Date: 2002-11-13
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Physics
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5716

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