Stellar (n,γ) rates of [sup 179]Ta and [sup 180m]Ta: Clues for the origin of nature’s rarest stable isotope?

Ka¨ppeler, F.; Arlandini, C.; Wisshak, K.
July 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 529 Issue 1, p307
Academic Journal
For almost three decades, the origin of [sup 180m]Ta, the rarest stable isotope in nature and the only one which is stable in the isomeric state, remained an intriguing astrophysical puzzle. This case is particularly appealing since it may be used to test several proposed production mechanisms. So far, the [sup 180m]Ta abundances claimed by the various models are limited by uncertainties in the underlying nuclear physics data. This contribution reports on first attempts to determine the stellar (n,γ)-rates of [sup 179]Ta and [sup 180m]Ta experimentally. These results represent a significant improvement with respect to a possible production of [sup 180m]Ta via neutron capture nucleosynthesis during He-burning in Red Giant stars. In both experiments, present techniques had to be pushed to their limits, be it for the short half-life of [sup 179]Ta or for the very low enrichment of the available [sup 180m]Ta sample. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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