A trapped-ion technique for beta-delayed neutron studies /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Caldwell, Shane, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (200 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/10773221
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Guy Savard Committee members: Juan Collar; Henry Frisch; James Truran.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: B.
Summary:The properties of beta-delayed neutron emission (betan) are important in basic and applied nuclear physics. The neutron spectra and branching ratios of betan emitters reflect the evolution of nuclear structure in neutron-rich nuclei. Branching ratios affect the heavy-element abundances resulting from the astrophysical r process. Energy spectra and branching ratios are also important to nuclear stockpile stewardship and the safe design of nuclear reactors. Recently we demonstrated a novel technique for betan spectroscopy using I137+ ions confined to a andsim;1 mm 3 volume within a linear RFQ ion trap [61, 77]. By measuring the time-of-flight spectrum of ions recoiling from both beta and betan decays, the betan branching ratio and spectrum can be determined. This recoil-ion technique has several advantages over techniques that rely on neutron detection: the recoil-ions are easily detectable; complications due to scattered neutrons and gamma-rays are avoided; and the betan branching ratio can be extracted in several ways. In this thesis we present new measurements of the delayed-neutron energy spectra and branching ratios of 137I, 135Sb, and 136Sb, which include the first observation of the 136Sb spectrum. These measurements were motivated by the impact that the branching ratios of 135Sb and136Sb can have on the r-process abundances and by the use of 137 I, a well-studied case, as a benchmark for the new technique. Our current understanding of the r process is severely limited by the lack of an exhaustive body of data on neutron-rich nuclei. Relative to the previous demonstration on 137I, the present iteration of the experiment incorporates a 10x improvement in both the detection efficiencies and the beam intensity, as well as a position-sensitive design for the recoil-ion detectors that enables an improvement in energy resolution. An important analytical tool is introduced, which models the evolution of each ion population in the trap and is used to provide a needed reduction of systematics. This work sets the stage for a campaign of betan measurements across the landscape of neutron-rich nuclei.