Temperature enhanced alpha-decay and the S process
Perrone, Frank Anthony
Clayton, Donald D.
Master of Arts
In this paper temperature enhanced alpha-decay at high stellar temperatures is investigated in conjunction with s-process nucleosynthesis. Temperature dependent alpha-decay is assumed to be the result of more energetic, hence faster, decay from thermally excited nuclear states. An analytical formula for the temperature dependent half-life is derived as a function of the atomic number and weight, temperature, and the alpha-decay Q-value of the isotope. The effect of such alpha-decay upon s-process abundances is discussed and information about s-process neutron flux strengths is deduced based on the calculated alpha-decay half-lives of the isotopes Nd 144 and Sm 150. The neutron flux-temperature relationships are compared to specific constant temperature carbon burning models. The carbon burning phases of massive stars are considered to be possible sources of solar system s-process abundances. Finally, information regarding the time between s-process termination and final interstellar injection of s-process products is derived using the decay calculations.